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Opinion of the Court
state-court proceedings dramatically increases the opportunities to relitigate a conviction.
Similarly, encouraging the full factual development in state court of a claim that state courts committed constitutional error advances comity by allowing a coordinate jurisdiction to correct its own errors in the first instance. It reduces the “inevitable friction” that results when a federal habeas court "overturn[s] either the factual or legal conclusions reached by the state-court system.” Sumner v. Mata, 449 U. S. 539, 550 (1981).
Also, by ensuring that full factual development takes place in the earlier, state-court proceedings, the cause-andprejudice standard plainly serves the interest of judicial economy. It is hardly a good use of scarce judicial resources to duplicate factfinding in federal court merely because a petitioner has negligently failed to take advantage of opportunities in state-court proceedings.
Furthermore, ensuring that full factual development of a claim takes place in state court channels the resolution of the claim to the most appropriate forum. The state court is the appropriate forum for resolution of factual issues in the first instance, and creating incentives for the deferral of factfinding to later federal-court proceedings can only degrade the accuracy and efficiency of judicial proceedings. This is fully consistent with, and gives meaning to, the requirement of exhaustion. The Court has long held that state prisoners must exhaust state remedies before obtaining federal habeas relief. Ex parte Royall, 117 U. S. 241 (1886). The requirement that state prisoners exhaust state remedies before a writ of habeas corpus is granted by a federal court is now incorporated in the federal habeas statute. 28 U. S. C.
4“An application for a writ of habeas corpus ... shall not be granted unless it appears that the applicant has exhausted the remedies available in the courts of the State .. 28 U. S. C. $2254(b).
Opinion of the Court
$ 2254. Exhaustion means more than notice. In requiring exhaustion of a federal claim in state court, Congress surely meant that exhaustion be serious and meaningful.
The purpose of exhaustion is not to create a procedural hurdle on the path to federal habeas court, but to channel claims into an appropriate forum, where meritorious claims may be vindicated and unfounded litigation obviated before resort to federal court. Comity concerns dictate that the requirement of exhaustion is not satisfied by the mere statement of a federal claim in state court. Just as the State must afford the petitioner a full and fair hearing on his federal claim, so must the petitioner afford the State a full and fair opportunity to address and resolve the claim on the merits. Cf. Picard v. Connor, 404 U. S. 270, 275 (1971).
Finally, it is worth noting that applying the cause-andprejudice standard in this case also advances uniformity in the law of habeas corpus. There is no good reason to maintain in one area of habeas law a standard that has been rejected in the area in which it was principally enunciated. And little can be said for holding a habeas petitioner to one standard for failing to bring a claim in state court and excusing the petitioner under another, lower standard for failing to develop the factual basis of that claim in the same forum. A different rule could mean that a habeas petitioner would not be excused for negligent failure to object to the introduction of the prosecution's evidence, but nonetheless would be excused for negligent failure to introduce any evidence of his own to support a constitutional claim.5
5 It is asserted by JUSTICE O'CONNOR that in adopting 28 U. S. C. $ 2254(d) Congress assumed the continuing validity of all aspects of Townsend, including the requirement of a hearing in all fifth circumstance cases absent a deliberate bypass. For several reasons, we disagree. First, it is evident that $ 2254(d) does not codify Townsend's specifications of when a hearing is required. Townsend described categories of cases in which evidentiary hearings would be required. Section 2254d), however, does not purport to govern the question of when hearings are required; rather, it lists exceptions to the normal presumption of correctness of state-court
Opinion of the Court
Respondent Tamayo-Reyes is entitled to an evidentiary hearing if he can show cause for his failure to develop the facts in state-court proceedings and actual prejudice resulting from that failure. We also adopt the narrow exception
findings and deals with the burden of proof where hearings are held. The two issues are distinct, and the statute indicates no assumption that the presence or absence of any of the statutory exceptions will determine whether a hearing is held.
Second, to the extent that it even considered the issue of default, Congress sensibly could have read Townsend as holding that the federal habeas corpus standard for cases of default under Townsend's fifth circumstance and cases of procedural default should be the same. Third, $ 2254(d) does not mention or recognize any exception for inexcusable neglect, let alone reflect the specific standard of deliberate bypass. In the face of this silence, it should not be assumed that if there is to be a judicially created standard for equitable default, it must be no other than the deliberate bypass standard borrowed by Townsend from a decision that has since been repudiated.
We agree with JUSTICE O'CONNOR that under our holding a claim invoking the fifth circumstance of Townsend will be unavailing where the cause asserted is attorney error. Murray v. Carrier, 477 U. S. 478 (1986), and Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U. S. 722 (1991), dictate as much. Such was the intended effect of those cases, but this does not make that circumstance a dead letter, for cause may be shown for reasons other than attorney error. We noted in Murray, a procedural default case, that objective factors external to the defense may impede counsel's efforts to comply and went on to say: "Without attempting an exhaustive catalog of such objective impediments to compliance with a procedural rule, we note that a showing that the factual or legal basis for a claim was not reasonably available to counsel, see Reed v. Ross, 468 U. S., at 16, or that 'some interference by officials,' Brown v. Allen, 344 U. S. 443, 486 (1953), made compliance impracticable, would constitute cause under this standard.” 477 U. S., at 488. Much of the same may be said of cases where the petitioner has defaulted on the development of a claim.
Nor, to the extent it is relevant to our decision in this case, is JUSTICE O'CONNOR's argument that many forms of cause would fall under other Townsend circumstances persuasive. For example, the third and sixth circumstances of Townsend speak to the denial by a court of full and fair hearing; however, a situation where facts were inadequately developed because of interference from officials would fall naturally into the fifth circumstance.
O'CONNOR, J., dissenting
to the cause-and-prejudice requirement: A habeas petitioner's failure to develop a claim in state-court proceedings will be excused and a hearing mandated if he can show that a fundamental miscarriage of justice would result from failure to hold a federal evidentiary hearing. Cf. McCleskey v. Zant, 499 U. S., at 494; Murray v. Carrier, 477 U. S., at 496.
The State concedes that a remand to the District Court is appropriate in order to afford respondent the opportunity to bring forward evidence establishing cause and prejudice, Brief for Petitioner 21, and we agree that respondent should have that opportunity. Accordingly, the decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the cause is remanded to the District Court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
JUSTICE O'CONNOR, with whom JUSTICE BLACKMUN, JUSTICE STEVENS, and JUSTICE KENNEDY join, dissenting.
Under the guise of overruling “a remnant of a decision," ante, at 8, and achieving “uniformity in the law,” ante, at 10, the Court has changed the law of habeas corpus in a fundamental way by effectively overruling cases decided long before Townsend v. Sain, 372 U. S. 293 (1963). I do not think this change is supported by the line of our recent procedural default cases upon which the Court relies: In my view, the balance of state and federal interests regarding whether a federal court will consider a claim raised on habeas cannot be simply lifted and transposed to the different question whether, once the court will consider the claim, it should hold an evidentiary hearing. Moreover, I do not think the Court's decision can be reconciled with 28 U. S. C. $2254(d), a statute Congress enacted three years after Townsend.
Jose Tamayo-Reyes' habeas petition stated that because he does not speak English he pleaded nolo contendere to
O'CONNOR, J., dissenting
manslaughter without any understanding of what “manslaughter” means. App. 58. If this assertion is true, his conviction was unconstitutionally obtained, see Henderson v. Morgan, 426 U. S. 637, 644–647 (1976), and Tamayo-Reyes would be entitled to a writ of habeas corpus. Despite the Court's attempt to characterize his allegation as a technical quibble—“his translator had not translated accurately and completely for him the mens rea element of manslaughter,” ante, at 3—this much is not in dispute. Tamayo-Reyes has alleged a fact that, if true, would entitle him to the relief he seeks.
Tamayo-Reyes initially, and properly, challenged the voluntariness of his plea in a petition for postconviction relief in state court. The court held a hearing, after which it found that “[p]etitioner's plea of guilty was knowingly and voluntarily entered.” App. 51. Yet the record of the postconviction hearing hardly inspires confidence in the accuracy of this determination. Tamayo-Reyes was the only witness to testify, but his attorney did not ask him whether his interpreter had translated “manslaughter” for him. Counsel instead introduced the deposition testimony of the interpreter, who admitted that he had translated “manslaughter” only as “less than murder.” Id., at 27. No witnesses capable of assessing the interpreter's performance were called; the attorney instead tried to direct the court's attention to various sections of the interpreter's deposition and attempted to point out where the interpreter had erred. When the prosecutor objected to this discussion on the ground that counsel was not qualified as an expert witness, his "presentation of the issue quickly disintegrated.” 926 F. 2d 1492, 1499 (CA9 1991). The state court had no other relevant evidence before it when it determined that Tamayo-Reyes actually understood the charge to which he was pleading.
Contrary to the impression conveyed by this Court's opinion, the question whether a federal court should defer to this sort of dubious “factfinding” in addressing a habeas corpus