Document Type

Research Paper

Publication Date

Spring 2010


On November 2, 2009, oral arguments were heard by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Beard v. Kindler, 129 S. Ct. 2381 (U.S. 2009) (United States 2). After appealing the Third Circuit Court’s decision in Kindler v. Horn, 542 F.3d 70 (U.S. App. 2008), the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was granted certiorari by the U.S. Supreme Court who will answer the following question in: “Is a state procedural rule automatically “inadequate” under the adequate-state-grounds doctrine -- and therefore unenforceable on federal habeas corpus review -- because the state rule is discretionary rather than mandatory?” (Petitioner 1). Although the petitioner, Jeffrey A. Beard, as well as the respondent, Joseph J. Kindler, both argue that a discretionary state procedural rule is not automatically inadequate under the adequate state grounds doctrine, the two parties argue different ideas to support their claim.

This paper provides evidence and precedent in support of the respondent’s claims that the Third Circuit did not hold an umbrella judgment that all discretionary state procedural rules are inadequate, but rather, that the Pennsylvania Fugitive Forfeiture rule as well as the Pennsylvania Relaxed Waiver rule, was inadequate under the adequate state grounds doctrine because it was not firmly established or regularly applied to bar Kindler from federal habeas corpus review. After identifying why the respondent has the legally correct position in this case, the paper concludes by identifying three judicial decision-making models that will help predict how each of the U.S. Supreme Court justices will vote in this case based on the analysis of each justice’s individual judicial philosophy.


2010 Undergraduate Research Award Runner-Up in the 3000-4000 level category.