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l. Sentence

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 Appx. 668 (5th Cir. 2015) (unpublished); Scotusblog page (including links to briefs and commentary) Buck was found guilty of capital murder.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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Charles Walker v. Kathy Griffin, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals No. 15-2147, 2016 WL 4501988, 8/29/16 Walker’s lawyer on his direct state appeal decided to challenge the reasonableness of Walker’s sentence, but he didn’t raise an issue about the sufficiency of the evidence to support applying an habitual offender enhancer to Walker. That failure didn’t constitute… 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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Michael Miller v. Dushan Zatecky, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals No. 15-1869, 4/26/2016 An Indiana state court sentenced Michael Miller to a total of 120 years in prison on three counts of child molestation. On direct appeal, his lawyer raised challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence and the admission of other-acts evidence, but did… Read More

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Bernard McKinley v. Kim Butler, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Case No. 14-1944, 1/4/16 McKinley failed to raise an Eighth Amendment claim in his state court challenges to the sentence he received for a murder he committed at the age of 16. That means he procedurally defaulted the claim for purposes of his federal habeas challenge… Read More

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Benjamin Price v. United States, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals No. 15-2427, 8/4/15 Price seeks to bring a successive collateral attack under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3) to the enhancement of his sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act. He claims that Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015), which held that the imposition of an enhanced sentence under the residual… Read More

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seventh circuit decision Habeas – Procedural Default Defense: Waiver by State  Procedural default (here, failure to perfect the appeal in state court, hence failure to exhaust the claim) is an affirmative defense which may be forfeited or waived by the State. The State expressly waived any failure-to-exhaust objection, hence the court proceeds to the merits… Read More

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