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Eric D. Holmes v. Levenhagen, 7th Cir No. 06-2905, 4/2/10

7th circuit decision; on appeal after remand, Eric D. Holmes v. Buss, 506 F.3d 576 (7th Cir 2007)

Competency of Petitioner, While Pursuing Habeas Relief

Given that petitioner is clearly incompetent (“He is deeply confused, obsessed, and delusional”) court orders habeas proceeding suspended until state shows his condition sufficiently improved.

This is a death penalty case, and the decision in the prior appeal indicated that it had “found no noncapital case in which such a claim (petitioner’s incompetency, on collateral attack) has been made.” By contrast, “in a capital case the petitioner may prefer to languish in prison than to see his claims for postconviction relief denied, opening the way to his execution.” The issue, then, is likely nonrecurrent. For a very detailed discussion of competency during the state, direct-appeal process, see State v. Debra A.E., 188 Wis. 2d 111, 138, 523 N.W.2d 727 (1994).

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