Clements v. Maloney, No. 05-2411. Starting the week off early, the First Circuit starts talking about whether a habeas petitioner properly exhausted a claim under Massachusetts state law. In doing so, it acknowledges that a prior holding may be invalid. In this case, “An eyewitness identified Clements as the killer while testifying before the grand jury, but recanted that testimony at trial.” He raised nine claims before the mid-level appellate court. He petitioned the Massachusetts SJC to review three of them (this is called an “Application for Leave to Obtain Further Appellate Review or ALOFAR). They granted review on one (sufficiency of the evidence), and ultimately affirmed noting that the recanted testimony wasn’t the only evidence of guilt.
At the District Court, he raises six claims. Three of them were found in the ALOFAR. Two were only raised at the mid-level appellate court. One wasn’t raised anywhere. The District Court found all but one either not exhausted or purely state law: a jury hold-out claim. A stay to exhaust was denied because the District Court held that his decisions were “deliberate” and “tactical.” The petitioner maintains that the “state law “ claims really had some basis in Federal Law. The First affirms this denial, even though Rhines v. Weber, 544 U.S. 269 (2005), was decided later, saying that there wasn’t “good cause” for failing to exhaust that claim.