OCTOBER TERM, 1994
on petition for writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the eighth circuit
No. 94-898. Decided March 20, 1995
Before a Missouri trial court could hold a hearing to consider respondent's motion for a new trial and to sentence her for the murder of her husband, respondent took flight. She was recaptured and sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole. The State Court of Appeals dismissed her timely notice of appeal on direct review and an appeal of the trial court's denial of her motion for postconviction relief, finding that, under Missouri's well-established fugitive dismissal rule, a defendant who attempts to escape justice after conviction forfeits her right to appeal. Subsequently, the Federal District Court rejected her procedural due process argument and denied her petition for habeas relief. On appeal, the Eighth Circuit found that dismissal of respondent's appeal where her preappeal flight had no adverse effect on the appellate process violated substantive due process. The court also concluded that the State had waived its argument that application of the court's ruling constituted a new rule that could not be announced in a case on collateral review under Teague v. Lane, 489 U. S. 288.
Held: The State did not waive the Teague issue, and application of the
Eighth Circuit's novel rule violates Teague's holding. The record supports the State's position that it raised the Teague claim in the District Court and the Eighth Circuit. Thus, it must be considered now, and it is dispositive. See Caspari v. Bohlen, 510 U. S. 383, 389. The Eighth Circuit's fugitive dismissal rule was neither dictated nor compelled by existing precedent when respondent's conviction became final. Nor does the rule fall into Teague's exception for watershed rules of criminal procedure implicating the fundamental fairness and accuracy of the criminal proceeding.
Certiorari granted; 37 F. 3d 371, reversed.
In this case, the Eighth Circuit granted habeas relief on the ground that it is a violation of Fourteenth Amendment due process for a state appellate court to dismiss the appeal of a recaptured fugitive where there is no demonstrated ad-
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