Vazquez v. Secretary, FL DOC, No. 15-10321 (11th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Petitioner, convicted of first degree murder and other crimes, appealed the denial of his petition for habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. 2254. The district court found sua sponte that petitioner was procedurally barred from bringing this Sixth Amendment confrontation clause claim because he had not exhausted available state court remedies. The court concluded that the state expressly waived exhaustion where the state was aware of the exhaustion arguments and communicated to the court its intention not to pursue them. Further, in considering the exhaustion issue sua sponte, the district court did not point to any “important federal interest” or Thompson factors that required a rejection of the state’s waiver. Accordingly, the court concluded that the district court erred in rejecting the state's express waiver and dismissing the petition. The court vacated and remanded for further proceedings.