From the next edition:
- Brown v. Plata, 2011 U.S. LEXIS 4012 (5/23/2011) In an unusually blunt language Court holds the Eighth Amendment requires something more than warehousing inmates.
- Kentucky v. King, No. 09- 1272 (5/16/2011) “In a Fourth Amendment dispute involving the scope of the exigency rule, judgment of the state supreme court is reversed where the rule applies when the police do not create the exigency by engaging or threatening to engage in conduct that violates the Fourth Amendment” [via FindLaw]
In favor of the Accused or Condemned
- State v. Thomas Sparks, Jr. (a/k/a Abdullah Hakim El Mumit), 2011 La. LEXIS 1122 (La. 5/10/2011) Remand ordered to conduct an evidentiary hearing on failure to investigate and present mitigation evidence
- Ex parte Andrew Anthony Apicella; (In re: Andrew Anthony Apicella v. State of Alabama), 2011 Ala. LEXIS 74 (Ala 5/13/2011) “As postconviction relief (PCR) court’s dismissal of inmate’s second PCR petition was reversed, when he then filed his third petition, no final judgment was in effect; thus, under Ex parte Rhone, fact that his third petition stated a new claim was not grounds to deny him his right under Ala. R. Crim. 32.7 to file an amended PCR petition.” [via LexisOne]
In favor of the Prosecution or Warden
- James Belcher v. Secretary, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 10268 (5/20/2011)(unpublished) Relief denied on “1. Whether Belcher’s trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to object to prosecution statements in violation of Caldwell v. Mississippi 2. Whether Belcher’s trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to object to prosecution questions during the penalty phase aimed at proving a non-statutory aggravating circumstance — that prison life was not harsh—unrelated to the crime or the defendant. 3. Whether the combined effect of these instances of ineffectiveness cumulatively denied Belcher effective assistance of counsel.After careful review of the record and the parties’ arguments, and with the benefit of oral argument, we affirm.
- Larry Matthew Puckett v. Epps, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 10158 (5th Cir 5/19/2011) Relief denied on claims relating to Batson, as well as the prosecution’s comment on post-Miranda silence.
- Daniel Lee Bedford v. Bobby, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 10018 (6th Cir 5/16/2011) “Death-row inmate neglected numerous opportunities to seek relief in the courts under Ford until eight days before his execution when he filed a Ford claim in state court; because he offered no cognizable reason for waiting to bring the claim to court, the district court abused its discretion in granting him a stay of execution on his Ford claim.” [via LexisOne]
- Ronnie Paul Threadgill v. Thaler, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 9787 (5th Cir 5/12/2011) Relief denied on claim “that he was denied effective assistance of counsel under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments when his trial counsel failed to adequately investigate and challenge the State’s use of an extraneous offense” during the punishment phase of his trial. Threadgill appealed and seeks a COA as to two additional issues: (1) “[w]hether [he] was denied effective assistance of counsel under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments [when his] trial counsel failed to request a lesser-included offense instruction on felony murder” and (2) “[w]hether [he] was denied due process of law when the trial court failed to charge the jury on the lesser-included offense . . . of felony murder.” Relief and COA denied.
- James Harrison v. Gillespie, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 9624 (9th Cir 5/10/2011) (as amended) (en banc) “Double Jeopardy Clause did not require trial judge, prior to discharging deadlocked jury, to poll the jury to determine if it had rejected the death penalty because jury may have been inclined to treat a preliminary compromise as a final verdict, and never indicated that they had reached a final finding acquitting defendant of the death penalty.” [via LexisOne]
- Jonathan Andrew Doody v. Ryan, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 9102 (9th Cir 5/4/2011) On remand from the SCOTUS, Miranda warnings here that “completely obfuscated the core precepts of Miranda, was inadequate.”
- Richard A. Leavitt v. Arave, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 9944 (9th Cir 5/17/2011) Trial counsel’s “decision to cease further investigation into Leavitt’s already heavily analyzed mental health was entirely rational. Leavitt has not made out his claim that [counsel’s] assistance was constitutionally deficient. Even if he had, the gruesome nature of the crime, coupled with the relatively weak additional evidence that might have been revealed had an MRI been granted, leads us to conclude that any ineffectiveness was not prejudicial.”
- William Gerald Mitchell v. Epps, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 9916 (5th Cir 5/16/2011) “Mitchell has requested a COA from this court authorizing him to appeal the denial of relief on his claims that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that he is mentally retarded and ineligible for execution. Because the district court’s decision denying relief on these claims is not debatable among reasonable jurists and Mitchell’s claims are not adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further, we deny his request for a COA.”
- Comm v. Ronald Gibson, 2011 Pa. LEXIS 1075 (Penn 5/12/2011) “[T]he new evidence in mitigation, even subsuming the intoxication evidence, is not reasonably likely to have swayed a juror to alter his or her vote. While we do not diminish the childhood troubles or substance abuse evident in Appellee’s background, the aggravation found by the jury was powerful: Appellee fired three rounds into a crowded bar, instantly killing Vernae Nixon, mortally wounding Officer Dukes, and imposing a grave risk of death upon other patrons, all during an attempted robbery. Against these aggravating factors, the life-history and mental-health mitigation is not compelling for reasons already discussed, including that it placed substantial emphasis on Appellee’s decision to abandon educational and professional opportunities in favor of a life on the streets using alcohol and drugs, carrying a gun, and selling illegal drugs, and on his voluntary actions in becoming intoxicated before committing the murders”
- Robert W. Jackson v. State, 2011 Del. LEXIS 264 (Del 5/17/2011) “Trial counsel’s sealed sidebar negative comment about defendant before withdrawing did not entitle defendant to postconviction relief because his Sixth Amendment right to counsel was not denied, as (1) no prejudice was presumed, as there was no complete failure of counsel, and (2) no prejudice was shown, as the comment did not affect his sentence.” [via LexisOne]
- Jamel Daniels v. State, 2011 Del. LEXIS 257 (Del 5/16/2011) Relief denied on “claims that a) his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to retain an expert to conduct independent DNA testing; b) his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to assert his right to a speedy trial; and c) the prosecution breached its duty to disclose exculpatory evidence to the defense.”
- State v. Kenneth Harry Justus, 2011 S.C. LEXIS 173 (S.C. 5/9/2011) ”This is a direct appeal in a death penalty case. Appellant raises one issue, asserting the trial court abused its discretion in disqualifying one of his two appointed counsel two years prior to his guilty plea to murder. We find no abuse of discretion and affirm.”
- Daniel Lee Bedford v. State, 2011 Ohio 2352 (Ohio 1st app 5/16/2011) Ford stay denied.
Still sorting through
- State v. Clarence Wayne Dixon, 2011 Ariz. LEXIS 23 (Az 5/6/2011)
- State v. Wayne Benoit Prince, 607 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 4 (Az 5/6/2011)
- People v. Sean Venyette Vines, 2011 Cal. LEXIS 4978 (Cal 5/19/2011)
- James Coddington v. State, 2011 OK CR 17 (Okla. Crim. App. 5/13/2011)