Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510, 11 (2003)

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520

WIGGINS v. SMITH

Opinion of the Court

to effective assistance of counsel. The amendments to 28 U. S. C. 2254, enacted as part of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), circumscribe our consideration of Wiggins' claim and require us to limit our analysis to the law as it was "clearly established" by our precedents at the time of the state court's decision. Section 2254 provides:

"(d) An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless the adjudication of the claim— "(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or "(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding."

We have made clear that the "unreasonable application" prong of 2254(d)(1) permits a federal habeas court to "grant the writ if the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle from this Court's decisions but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts" of petitioner's case. Williams v. Taylor, supra, at 413; see also Bell v. Cone, 535 U. S. 685, 694 (2002). In other words, a federal court may grant relief when a state court has misapplied a "governing legal principle" to "a set of facts different from those of the case in which the principle was announced." Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U. S. 63, 76 (2003) (citing Williams v. Taylor, supra, at 407). In order for a federal court to find a state court's application of our precedent "unreasonable," the state court's decision must have been more than incorrect or erroneous. See Lockyer, supra, at 75. The state court's appli-

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