Schiro v. Farley, 510 U.S. 222, 11 (1994)

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Opinion of the Court

tion marks omitted), and that opportunity extends not only to prosecution at the guilt phase, but also to present evidence at an ensuing sentencing proceeding.


Schiro also contends that principles of constitutional collateral estoppel require vacation of his death sentence. In Ashe v. Swenson, 397 U. S. 436 (1970), we held that the Double Jeopardy Clause incorporates the doctrine of collateral estoppel in criminal proceedings. See also Dowling v. United States, 493 U. S. 342, 347 (1990). Collateral estoppel, or, in modern usage, issue preclusion, "means simply that when an issue of ultimate fact has once been determined by a valid and final judgment, that issue cannot again be litigated between the same parties in any future lawsuit." Ashe, 397 U. S., at 443. Schiro reasons that the jury acquitted him of "intentionally" murdering Laura Luebbehusen, and that as a result, the trial court was precluded from finding the existence of the aggravating circumstance that he "committed the murder by intentionally killing the victim while committing or attempting to commit . . . rape." We do not address whether collateral estoppel could bar the use of the "intentional" murder aggravating circumstance, because Schiro has not met his burden of establishing the factual predicate for the application of the doctrine, if it were applicable, namely, that an "issue of ultimate fact has once been determined" in his favor. Ibid.

The Indiana Supreme Court concluded that the jury verdict did not amount to an acquittal on the intentional murder count. Schiro v. State, 533 N. E. 2d, at 1201. Ordinarily on habeas review, we presume the correctness of state court findings of fact. See 28 U. S. C. 2254(d). Cf. also Cichos v. Indiana, 385 U. S. 76, 79-80 (1966). The preclusive effect of the jury's verdict, however, is a question of federal law which we must review de novo. Cf. Ashe v. Swenson, 397 U. S., at 444.

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