ROSE V. LUNDY, 455 U. S. 509 (1982)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509 (1982)

Rose v. Lundy

No. 80-846

Argued October 14, 1981

Decided March 3, 1982

455 U.S. 509


Title 28 U.S.C. §§ 2254(b) and (c) provide that a state prisoner's application for a writ of habeas corpus in a federal district court based on an alleged federal constitutional violation will not be granted unless the applicant has exhausted the remedies available in the state courts. After respondent was convicted of certain charges in a Tennessee state court and his convictions were affirmed, he unsuccessfully sought postconviction relief in a state court. He then filed a petition in Federal District Court for a writ of habeas corpus under § 2254, alleging four specified grounds of relief. The District Court granted the writ, notwithstanding the petition included both claims that had not been exhausted in the state courts and those that had been. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held: The judgment is reversed and the case is remanded.

624 F.2d 1100, reversed and remanded.

JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, III-A, III-B, and IV, concluding that a district court must dismiss habeas petitions containing both unexhausted and exhausted claims. A rule requiring exhaustion of all claims in state courts promotes comity and furthers the purposes underlying the exhaustion doctrine, as codified in §§ 2254(b) and (c), of protecting the state courts' role in the enforcement of federal law and preventing disruption of state judicial proceedings. Pp. 455 U. S. 513-520.

JUSTICE O'CONNOR, joined by CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER, JUSTICE POWELL, and JUSTICE REHNQUIST, concluded in Part III-C that the total exhaustion rule will not impair the state prisoner's interest in obtaining speedy federal relief on his claims, since, rather than returning to state court to exhaust all of his claims, he can always amend the petition to delete the unexhausted claims, although, by doing so, he would risk dismissal of subsequent federal petitions. Pp. 455 U. S. 520-521.

O'CONNOR, J., announced the Court's judgment and delivered an opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, III-A, III-B, and IV, in which BURGER, C.J.,and BRENNAN, MARSHALL, POWELL, and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined, and an opinion with respect to Part III-C, in which BURGER, C.J.,and POWELL and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined. BLACKMUN, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, post, p. 455 U. S. 522. BRENNAN, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which MARSHALL, J.,

Page 455 U. S. 510

joined, post, p. 455 U. S. 532. WHITE, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, post, p. 455 U. S. 538. STEVENS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 455 U. S. 538.

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