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Federal Habeas: Procedure — Appellate — Standard of Review — State Court Failure to Adjudicate Merits, Effect of

Larry W. Myartt v. Frank, 7th Cir No 04-2115, 1/21/05Issue/Holding:

… AEDPA standards apply only to claims that were “adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). In the instant case, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals did not address Myartt’s ineffective assistance claim, which is unsurprising because Myartt’s pro se filing failed to develop the claim or discuss relevant Sixth Amendment principles. In these circumstances, it is impossible to determine whether the state court’s decision involved an unreasonable application of Strickland. We agree with the district court that Myartt’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim was not adjudicated on the merits in any meaningful sense; consequently, we apply the pre-AEDPA standard of review, which requires us to “dispose of the matter as law and justice require.” Braun v. Powell, 227 F.3d 908, 917 (7th Cir. 2000).


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