From the upcoming edition:
- Damien Echols v. State, 2010 Ark. 417 (Ark 11/4/2010) “[W]e hold that the circuit court erroneously interpreted the Arkansas DNA testing statutes, we reverse and remand for an evidentiary hearing, at which the circuit court shall hear Echols’s motion for a new trial and consider the DNA-test results ‘with all other evidence in the case regardless of whether the evidence was introduced at trial’ to determine if Echols has ‘establish[ed] by compelling evidence that a new trial would result in acquittal.’ We hold that because the circuit court interpreted the statutes in question incorrectly, it applied the wrong legal standards to Echols’s motion. Furthermore, the statute requires that the court ‘promptly set an early hearing on the petition and response’ unless ‘the petition and the files and records of the proceeding conclusively show that the petitioner is entitled to no relief.’ Echols’s petition and the files and records of the proceeding do not conclusively show he is entitled to no relief, and the circuit court should have held an evidentiary hearing. Therefore, we reverse and remand for an evidentiary hearing and reconsideration of the motion in light of the proper interpretation of the statutes. (companion noncapital cases, both decided same day Baldwin v. State & Misskelley v. State)
- Virgilio Maldonado v. Thaler, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 22590 (5th Cir 10/29/2010) “[E]vidence does not rebut the presumption of correctness that attaches to the state habeas court’s conclusion that Maldonado did not meet his burden of establishing mental retardation. Therefore, the state court’s denial of relief was neither an unreasonable application of federal law nor an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence.” ” A habeas petitioner was not entitled to relief under the Eighth Amendment because he could not meet his burden of showing that a state court’s finding that he was not mentally retarded was either an unreasonable application of federal caselaw or an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in state court.” [via Lexisone]
- Andre Cole v. Roper, 09-1213 (8th Cir 11/5/2010) (dissent) ” Missouri state courts’ decisions on a Batson claim were not contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, federal law; ineffective assistance of counsel claim was properly rejected as counsel was not deficient for failing to seek another expert opinion when two pretrial experts both determined Cole was not suffering from a mental disease or defect at the time of the crime; counsel made a reasonable litigation decision not to present evidence of Cole’s behavior in prison at the penalty phase of the trial; one of Cole’s claims concerning the use of restraints at trial was procedurally defaulted; with respect to the other claim, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Cole’s request for an evidentiary hearing; with respect to the merits of the claim, Deck v. Missouri did not apply retroactively; in any event, the restraints in question would not violate the holding in Deck; Missouri courts’ rejection of Cole’s claims of prosecutorial misconduct in the guilt and penalty phases was not contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, Supreme Court precedents. Judge Bye, concurring in part and dissenting in part.” [via Clerk's Office "In a capital habeas matter, the denial of the petition is affirmed where: 1) the state court's factual findings regarding the three proffered similarly situated jurors in response to petitioner's Batson challenge were accorded a presumption of correctness; 2) with the strong expert testimony already in the hands of the state at the time of trial, it was unlikely that petitioner suffered any prejudice from counsel's failure to call more favorable expert or lay witnesses; and 3) evidence of petitioner's disposition to make a well-behaved and peaceful adjustment to life in prison was relevant mitigating evidence but counsel's failure to offer such evidence was not constitutionally deficient." [via FindLaw]
- Lawrence Landrum v. Mitchell, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 23035; 2010 FED App. 0340P (6th Cir. 11/4/2010) “District court’s grant of defendant’s petition for habeas relief on the basis of guilt-phase ineffective assistance of counsel is reversed where: 1) defendant procedurally defaulted his claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel for failing to seek admission of witness’s testimony during the guilt phase; 2) defendant has not shown cause to excuse default of the claim because he has also procedurally defaulted his ineffective assistance of appellate counsel claim; and 3) the balance of defendant’s guilt phase ineffective assistance claims are without merit.” [via FindLaw]
- Stephen Michael West v. Gray, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 23043; 2010 FED App. 0688N (6th Cir. 11/4/2010) (dissent)(unpublished) Lethal injection challenged denied as being filed out of time. Dissent asserts that due to unusually low sodium thiopental levels indicated in the two most recent post-mortem lethal injection executees, that Mr. West could not have known of the potential problems with the Tennessee lethal injection protocol.