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March 22, 2005

AEDPA death penalty ruling from SCOTUS today

Criminal defendants and prisoners have been on something of a winning streak in the Supreme Court this Term, although the government has prevailed more often in capital cases and Fourth Amendment cases.  Today, as detailed in this post from SCOTUSblog, the Supreme Court found for the government in a capital case and in a Fourth Amendment case.

Today's capital case was Brown v. Payton, No. 03-1039 (S. Ct. Mar. 22, 2005) (available here), and it concerned jury instructions regarding mitigating factors.  The Ninth Circuit had granted habeas relief to the capital defendant, but the Supreme Court, in an 5-3 decision with the Court's opinion written by Justice Kennedy, focused on the AEDPA habeas standards and held that habeas relief should not have been granted because the California Supreme Court's affirmance of the defendant's sentence was not unreasonable.

March 22, 2005 at 10:56 AM | Permalink


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