Lee v. Kemna, 534 U.S. 362, 3 (2002)

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unique circumstances of this case—the sudden, unanticipated, and at the time unexplained disappearance of critical, subpoenaed witnesses on what became the trial's last day. Third and most important, the purpose of the Rules was served by Lee's submissions both immediately before and at the short trial. As to the "written motion" requirement, Rule 24.09 does not completely rule out oral continuance motions, and the trial transcript enabled an appellate court to comprehend the situation quickly. As to Rule 24.10, two of the Rule's components were stressed by the State. Missouri asserted, first, that Lee's counsel never mentioned in his oral motion the testimony he expected from the missing witnesses, and second, that Lee's counsel gave the trial court no reason to believe that those witnesses could be located within a reasonable time. These matters, however, were either covered by the oral continuance motion or otherwise conspicuously apparent on the record. Thus, the Rule's essential requirements were substantially met in this case, and nothing would have been gained by requiring Lee's counsel to recapitulate in rank order the showings the Rule requires. See, e. g., Osborne, 495 U. S., at 124. The case is therefore remanded for adjudication of Lee's due process claim on the merits. Pp. 381-388.

213 F. 3d 1037, vacated and remanded.

Ginsburg, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and Stevens, O'Connor, Souter, and Breyer, JJ., joined. Kennedy, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Scalia and Thomas, JJ., joined, post, p. 388.

Bonnie I. Robin-Vergeer, by appointment of the Court, 532 U. S. 956, argued the cause for petitioner. With her on the briefs were David C. Vladeck and Alan B. Morrison.

Paul C. Wilson argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief were Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon, Attorney General of Missouri, James R. Layton, State Solicitor, and Michael J. Spillane, Assistant Attorney General.*

*Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed for the State of Nebraska et al. by Don Stenberg, Attorney General of Nebraska, Martin Swanson, Assistant Attorney General, and Dan Schweitzer, joined by the Attorneys General for their respective States as follows: Bill Pryor of Alabama, Bruce M. Botelho of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Bill Lock-yer of California, Ken Salazar of Colorado, Thurbert E. Baker of Georgia, Carla J. Stovall of Kansas, J. Joseph Curran, Jr., of Maryland, Mike

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