First look at this week’s edition includes:
Favorable for the Accused or Condemend:
James Lambert v. Beard, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 2333 (3rd Cir 2/7/2011) Relief granted on Brady grounds. The Commonwealth apparently conceded that at trial counse failed to disclose evidence that the lynchpin witness of the prosecution initially indicated someone other than Mr. Lambert committed the offense. The panel concludes that on the facts of this case, the suppressed evidence was both exculpatory and material.
- Criminal Specialist Investigators, Inc. v. State, 2011 Fla. App. LEXIS 1587 (FL 1st App 2/7/2011) Intermediate Florida appellate court granted relief in a funding dispute holding that the trial court failed to adequately weigh the importance of the role mitigation experts play in capital cases in denying services. “[R]elevant legal authorities establish that ‘mitigation coordinator’ or ‘mitigation specialist’ is the title of a legitimate job related to the defense of criminal defendants who are eligible for the death penalty.”
- Frederick Bell v. State, 2011 Miss. LEXIS 85 (Miss 2/3/2011) (dissent) Leave granted to file a successive postconviction petition on the issue of mental retardation, all other claims denied outright.
- Jerry Jerome Smith v. State, 2011 Ala. Crim. App. LEXIS 7 (Ala. Crim. App. 2/4/2011) On remand from the Alabama Supreme Court ordering a new penalty phase hearing.
Favorable to the executioner:
Jerry Devane Bryant v. State , 2011 Ala. Crim. App. LEXIS 1 (Ala. Crim. App. 2/4/2011) “For the reasons stated above, we remand this case to the circuit court for it to afford Bryant the opportunity to present evidence at an evidentiary hearing to support the following claims in his petition: (1) that trial counsel at his first trial were ineffective for not properly investigating and retaining a blood-spatter expert and a DNA expert, as set out in Part II.B. of this opinion; (2) that trial counsel at his first trial were ineffective for not properly investigating and presenting evidence to support a motion to suppress the first statement he made to police, as set out in Part II.C. of this opinion; and (3) that trial counsel at his first trial and trial counsel at his second penalty-phase trial were ineffective for failing to adequately impeach Ricky Vickers’s testimony and that trial counsel at his second penalty-phase trial were ineffective for failing to adequately challenge Vickers’s unavailability, as set out in Part II.D. of this opinion.”
- Baze v. Parker 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 2172,*;2011 FED App. 0035P (6th Cir.) (covered last week without citation)
- Brewington & Brown v. State, 2011 Ga. LEXIS 100 (Ga 2/7/2011) “As two defendants’ speedy trial time from the date of their mistrial through to the date their second dismissal motion was denied was only a little over three months, there was no presumption of prejudice and their speedy trial rights were not violated under U.S. Const. amend. VI and Ga. Const. art. I, § 1, para. XI(a).” [via Lexisone]
- Gerald Stanley v. Cullen, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 1912 (9th Cir 1/31/2011) “On federal habeas petitioner’s due process claim, trial judges were not unreasonable in finding insufficient incompetency evidence to warrant sua sponte competency hearing order; there was insufficient evidence of incompetence during guilt phase to find that defense counsel were ineffective in failing to move for competency proceedings.” [via Lexisone]
- Dickens v. Brewer, No. 09-16539 (9th Cir 2/9/2011) “In death row inmates’ challenge to Arizona’s three-drug lethal injection protocol brought under 42 U.S.C. section 1983, asserting that Arizona’s execution protocol violates the Eighth Amendment because of the risk of improper anesthetization, grant of summary judgment in favor of Arizona is affirmed where the protocol’s safeguards are adequate under the Baze standard and because there is no material issue of fact regarding compliance with the protocol.” [via Findlaw]
- Dominique Ray v. State, 2011 Ala. Crim. App. LEXIS 6 (Ala. Crim. App. 2/4/2011) Still working through. “Another failed attempt at claiming IAC for failing to introduce mitigating evidence during capital sentencing. The defendant was convicted of murder during the course of a rape and a robbery. The jury (by a vote of 11-1) recommended he be sentenced to death, which the circuit court followed. The conviction and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal. Here, the Defendant unsuccessfully appeals the denial of a post-conviction petition he filed attacking his capital-murder conviction and death sentence. Among other arguments, he claims to have received ineffective assistance of counsel during the penalty phase of his capital-murder trial because his trial counsel failed to introduce expert mental health testimony. At the post-conviction evidentiary hearing, the Defendant introduced expert testimony that the Defendant had an “anomalous brain development that causes [him] to suffer severe problems with interpersonal relationships and self control,” and that his IQ is 80, which places him in the level of low mental functioning. To rebut the mental health evidence, the State introduced expert testimony to the contrary, in which the expert opined that there was no need for neuropsychological testing, because the defendant had no history of “head trauma, head injury, [or] neurological disease.” This appellate court found the mitigating evidence weak, at best, and that there was no prejudice to the Defendant in not having had the mental health evidence introduced at trial.” [via Nita A Farahany @ Stanford CLB blog]
- Paul Ezra Rhoades v. Henry, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 2578 (9th Cir 2/8/2011) (double checking as it appears we may have already covered this decision a few editions back)
Steven Richard Taylor v. State, 2011 Fla. LEXIS 337 (FL 2/10/2011) still working through