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Banister v. Davis, USSC No. 18-6943, certiorari granted 6/24/19 Question presented: Whether and under what circumstances a timely Rule 59(e) motion should be recharacterized as a second or successive habeas petition under Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524 (2005). Decision below: Banister v. Davis, unpublished order dismissing appeal (5th Cir. May 8, 2018) USSC Docket… Read More

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Virginia v. Dennis LeBlanc, USSC No. 16-1177, 2017 WL 2507375 (June 12, 2017), reversing LeBlanc v. Mathena, 841 F.3d 256 (4th Cir. 2016); Scotusblog page (including links to briefs and commentary) Although this is a per curiam decision and it’s decided under the rubric of federal habeas review, the upshot of this opinion is that states… Read More

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McKinley Kelly v. Richard Brown, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals No. 17-1244, 3/16/17 Two judges on the Seventh Circuit apparently think so, based on their rejection of Kelly’s motion to file a second federal habeas petition so he can challenge his sentence under Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012) (mandatory life sentence for juvenile… Read More

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Buck v. Davis, USSC No. 15-8049, 2017 WL 685534 (February 22, 2017), reversing and remanding Buck v. Stephens, 623 Fed. Appx. 668 (5th Cir. 2015) (unpublished); Scotusblog page (including links to briefs and commentary) Buck was found guilty of capital murder. Under state law, the jury could impose a death sentence only if it found Buck was… Read More

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Question presented: Did the Supreme Court’s decision in Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86 (2011), silently abrogate the presumption set forth in Ylst v. Nunnemaker, 501 U.S. 797 (1991)—that a federal court sitting in habeas proceedings should “look through” a summary state court ruling to review the last reasoned decision—as a slim majority of the… Read More

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Eric T. Alston v. Judy P. Smith, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals No. 16-1308, 2016 WL 6083982, 10/18/2016 Eric Alston was on probation when he came to the attention of Dane County’s “Special Investigation Unit,” a law enforcement initiative targeting “serious, assaultive offenders” that offered him resources aimed at preventing him from reoffending but “came with the admonition… Read More

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William Hinesley, III, v. Wendy Knight, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals No. 15-2122, 2016 WL 4758437, 9/13/16 Hinesley’s trial lawyer didn’t object to the state’s presentation of the inculpatory out-of-court statements of the two principal witnesses against him because he wanted all of the witnesses’ statements admitted to show how they had changed their stories and… Read More

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Roy L. Ward v. Ron Neal, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals No. 16-1001, 8/26/16 Ward’s trial lawyers weren’t ineffective when they failed to adequately investigate and present readily available mitigating evidence and then, due to lack of preparation, instead presented evidence Ward was a dangerous psychopath. Ward was facing the death penalty for a brutal sexual… Read More

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