SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
OCTOBER TERM, 1991
certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the ninth circuit
No. 90-1859. Argued January 15, 1992—Decided May 4, 1992
In collateral state-court proceedings, respondent, a Cuban immigrant with little education and almost no knowledge of English, alleged, inter alia, that his plea of nolo contendere to first-degree manslaughter had not been knowing and intelligent and therefore was invalid because his court-appointed translator had not translated accurately and completely for him the mens rea element of the crime in question. The state court dismissed the petition after a hearing, the Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed, the State Supreme Court denied review, and the Federal District Court denied respondent habeas corpus relief. However, the Court of Appeals held that he was entitled to a federal evidentiary hearing on the question whether the mens rea element of the crime was properly explained to him, since the record disclosed that the material facts concerning the translation were not adequately developed at the state-court hearing, see Townsend v. Sain, 372 U. S. 293, 313, and since postconviction counsel's negligent failure to develop those facts did not constitute a deliberate bypass of the orderly procedure of the state courts, see id., at 317; Fay v. Noia, 372 U. S. 391, 438.
Held: A cause-and-prejudice standard, rather than Fay's deliberate bypass standard, is the correct standard for excusing a habeas petitioner's failure to develop a material fact in state-court proceedings. Townsend's holding that the Fay standard is applicable in a case like this must be overruled in light of more recent decisions involving, like Fay, a
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