Castille v. Peoples

In Castille v. Peoples, 489 U.S. 346, 351, 109 S.Ct. 1056, 103 L.Ed.2d 380 (1989) a unanimous Supreme Court held that a claim remains unexhausted for lack of "fair presentation" where, as here, it was raised for the first time on discretionary review to the state's highest court and denied without comment. 489 U.S. at 351, 109 S.Ct. 1056. In Castille, after the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed, on direct appeal, a defendant's conviction, he raised federal claims for the first time in two "petitions for allocatur" to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, an allocatur petition is a request for a certiorari-like form of discretionary review by the highest state court. The Supreme Court in Castille granted certiorari to decide "whether the presentation of claims to a State's highest court on discretionary review, without more, satisfies the exhaustion requirements of 28 U.S.C. 2254." Id. at 349, 109 S.Ct. 1056. In its unanimous opinion, after noting that the petitioner had raised only state law claims to the intermediate state appellate court, the Supreme Court held that "where the federal claim has been presented for the first and only time in a procedural con text in which its merits will not be considered unless there are special and important reasons ... raising the claim in such a fashion does not ... constitute fair presentation." Id. at 351, 109 S.Ct. 1056.