District court's grant of petition for writ of habeas corpus is reversed and remanded where: 1) the court properly determined that petitioner exhausted his Strickland claim in the state courts and that this claim was not procedurally defaulted by Pennsylvania's bar against the relitigation of "previously litigated" claims in PCRA proceedings; 2) petitioner's claim is governed by the test for ineffective assistance of counsel enunciated in Strickland; 3) the court erred in reviewing petitioner's claim de novo as the state courts adjudicated petitioner's claim on the merits and federal habeas relief is subject to the standards prescribed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act; and 4) the court improperly rejected the Magistrate Judge's finding that petitioner had not demonstrated prejudice as required by Strickland.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Reargued En Banc November 18, 2008
Filed July 31, 2009
Before: SCIRICA, Chief Judge, SLOVITER, McKEE, BARRY, AMBRO, FUENTES, SMITH, FISHER, CHAGARES, JORDAN and HARDIMAN, Circuit Judges.
Per Curium Opinion
For Appellant: THOMAS W. DOLGENOS, SUSAN E. AFFRONTI, District Attorney's Office, Philadelpha, PA.
For Appellee: CHERYL J. STURM, Chadds Ford, PA.