Horn v. Banks, 536 U.S. 266, 5 (2002) (per curiam)

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Per Curiam

"Teague teaches that the federal courts habeas corpus proceeding should be reluctant to apply new rules of federal jurisprudence in state court cases decided before such new rules were handed down. Principles of comity and finality counsel that we maintain a circumscribed scope of habeas review. . . Here, however as we have noted, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court applied Mills. We are examining the application of Mills, not because we wish to impose a new rule not considered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, but as the court in fact did consider and apply it. In such a situation, Teague is not implicated. Accordingly, we need ask only whether the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's application of Mills should be disturbed under the AEDPA standards." 271 F. 3d, at 543 (citation omitted).

Freed from performing a Teague analysis concerning Mills' retroactivity, a question which has created some disagreement among the Federal Circuits,4 the Court of Appeals asked "whether the Pennsylvania Supreme Court determination regarding the constitutionality of the instructions, verdict slip, and polling of the jury involved an unreasonable application of Mills." 271 F. 3d, at 544. It then found the state court's application of federal law unreasonable under the standards of 28 U. S. C. 2254(d), relying on both Mills and Boyde v. California, 494 U. S. 370 (1990). 271 F. 3d, at 551. The Court of Appeals explained that, "[c]onsidered as a whole, the jury instructions leave no doubt that 'there is a reasonable likelihood that the jury has applied the challenged instruction in a way that prevents the consideration of constitutionally relevant evidence.' " Id., at 549 (quoting Boyde, supra, at 380).

4 Compare Gall v. Parker, 231 F. 3d 265, 322 (CA6 2000) (Teague does not bar retroactive application of Mills), and Williams v. Dixon, 961 F. 2d 448, 456 (CA4 1992) (same), with Miller v. Lockhart, 65 F. 3d 676, 685-686 (CA8 1995) (Teague bars retroactive application of Mills), and Cordova v. Collins, 953 F. 2d 167, 173 (CA5 1992) (same).

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