District court's denial of defendant's petition for habeas relief is vacated and remanded because the court did not consider the Supreme Court's decision in Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S. 408 (2005), in holding that the Rhines v. Weber, 544 U.S. 269 (2005) stay-and-abeyance procedure applies exclusively to mixed petitions. As the Supreme Court has indicated that a petitioner may file a "protective" petition meriting a stay under Pace even where only unexhausted claims are at issue, the case is remanded for the district court to consider whether petitioner has met the stay-and-abeyance standard set out in Rhines and thus should be granted a stay.
On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (No. 07-cv-1398)
District Judge: Honorable Christopher C. Conner
Opinion Filed September 14, 2009
Counsel for Appellee: James F. Marsh, Mark S. Matthews