Stewart v. Smith, 536 U.S. 856, 3 (2002) (per curiam)

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Per Curiam

toward respondent and their allegiance to the Public Defend-er's office, of which respondent's trial counsel was also a member.

The District Court relied on the Pima County Superior Court's procedural ruling on respondent's ineffective-assistance-of-trial-counsel claim to bar federal habeas relief. Like the state court, the District Court rejected respond-ent's argument that his appellate and Rule 32 counsel suffered from a conflict of interest which excused his procedural default. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed, finding that although the state court's procedural default ruling was regularly followed and therefore adequate, see 241 F. 3d 1191, 1195, n. 2 (2001) (citing Johnson v. Mississippi, 486 U. S. 578, 587 (1988)), the ruling required consideration of the merits of respondent's claim and was therefore not independent of federal law, see 241 F. 3d, at 1196-1197. Rule 32.2(a)(3) applies different standards for waiver depending on whether the claim asserted in a Rule 32 petition is of "sufficient constitutional magnitude." If it is, the rule requires that the waiver be "knowin[g], voluntar[y] and intelligen[t]," not merely omitted from previous petitions. Ariz. Rule Crim. Proc. 32.2(a)(3), comment (West 2000). The Ninth Circuit opined that, at the time the state court ruled on respondent's ineffective-assistance claim, the determination of whether a claim is of sufficient magnitude required consideration of the merits of the claim. See 241 F. 3d, at 1197 (citing State v. French, 198 Ariz. 119, 121, 7 P. 3d 128, 130 (App. 2000); State v. Curtis, 185 Ariz. 112, 115, 912 P. 2d 1341, 1344 (App. 1995)). The Ninth Circuit concluded that, under Ake v. Oklahoma, 470 U. S. 68, 75 (1985), the state court's ruling did not bar federal review of the merits of respondent's claim. See 241 F. 3d, at 1196- 1197. We granted certiorari to review the Ninth Circuit's decision. 534 U. S. 157 (2001) (per curiam).

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