verse effect on the appellate process. The court declined to consider whether application of its ruling in respondent's case would violate the principle of Teague v. Lane, 489 U. S. 288 (1989) (plurality opinion), concluding the State had waived that argument. The State raised the Teague bar, and application of the Eighth Circuit's novel rule violates Teague's holding. For this reason, certiorari is granted and the judgment is reversed.
In 1986, a Missouri jury convicted Lynda Branch of the first-degree murder of her husband. On retrial after the Missouri Court of Appeals reversed her conviction because of an error in the admission of evidence, the jury again convicted her. Branch moved for a new trial, and the trial court scheduled a hearing for April 3, 1989, to consider this motion and to sentence her. Before the hearing, however, Branch, who was free on bail, took flight to a neighboring county. She was recaptured on April 6, 1989, and sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole.
Branch filed a timely notice of appeal on direct review and an appeal of the trial court's denial of her motion for post-conviction relief. In 1991, the Missouri Court of Appeals consolidated and dismissed the appeals under Missouri's well-established fugitive dismissal rule, which provides that a defendant who attempts to escape justice after conviction forfeits her right to appeal. State v. Branch, 811 S. W. 2d 11, 12 (Mo. App. 1991) (citing State v. Carter, 98 Mo. 431, 11 S. W. 979 (1889)). "[E]ven in the absence of prejudice to the state," the court explained, "the dismissal was justified by a more fundamental principle: preservation of public respect for our system of law." 811 S. W. 2d, at 12. Branch did not seek review in this Court.
On petition for federal habeas relief under 28 U. S. C. § 2254, Branch alleged that the dismissal of her consolidated appeal violated due process. The District Court undertook what it termed a procedural due process analysis under the framework set forth in Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U. S. 319,Page: Index Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next
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