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Before Torruella and Lipez, Circuit Judges, and Smith, *fn1 District Judge.

TORRUELLA, Circuit Judge. After a jury trial in the Massachusetts Superior Court, Scott D. Kirwan was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison for killing Steven Meagher. Kirwan appealed, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) affirmed his conviction. See Commonwealth v. Kirwan, 860 N.E.2d 931, 943 (Mass. 2007).

Kirwan filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the federal district court, which the court denied, adopting without further explanation the magistrate judge’s report and recommendation. See Kirwan v. Spencer, No. 08-10651, slip op. at 68 (D. Mass. Aug. 25, 2009). Kirwan then applied for a certificate of appealability (“COA”) as to the denial of the writ. The district court granted the COA as to two of the grounds in Kirwan’s petition. Thus, the following issues are on appeal: (1) whether certain remarks by the prosecutor during closing argument deprived Kirwan of his rights to a fair trial and due process, and (2) whether trial counsel’s failure to object to, and seek curative instructions following, the prosecutor’s allegedly improper remarks deprived Kirwan of his right to effective assistance of counsel.

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