Willie B. Smith, III v. Commissioner (11th Cir. May 2019)

The Court affirmed the district court’s denial of the defendant’s habeas petition under § 2254. The defendant failed to show that the state court’s denial of Atkins claim of ineligibility for the death penalty due to intellectual disability or denial of his Batson claim were contrary to clearly established law or constituted an unreasonable determination of the facts. The Court also held that the requirement in Moore v. Texas that state courts consider prevailing medical standards in adjudicating Atkins claims was not retroactive under Teague.

Ricky Langley v. Warden (5th Cir. June 2019), EN BANC

The Court held that the state court's ruling that the defendant's third conviction for murder was not barred by the double jeopardy clause was not contrary to clearly established law as stated in the Supreme Court's holding Ashe v. Swenson, since Ashe applies to prosecutions following general acquittals for the same conduct, not convictions, even where a defendant is convicted on a lesser-included offense.

Michael Wade Nance v. Warden (11th Cir. April 2019)

Reviewing a petitioner’s § 2254 motion, the Court held that the state court’s rejection of petitioner’s ineffective claim was objectively reasonable since trial counsel’s decision to refrain from presenting certain mitigation evidence at death penalty sentencing was a strategic decision. The Court also held that the state court did not go against clearly established federal law in holding that the trial court did not err in requiring defendant to wear a stun belt under his clothes because the Supreme Court has only established that requiring visible restraints is prejudicial.

Wyndell Hall v. Secretary, Department of Corrections (11th Cir. April 2019)

The Court held that the district court erred in dismissing the petitioner’s § 2254 motion as untimely after he filed a defective postconviction motion in state court. The Court held that the petitioner’s amended motion related back to the original filing, thus tolling the AEDPA’s statute of limitations from the time of the original filing until the amended motion was denied with prejudice.

Willie Seth Crain v. Florida (11th Cir. March 2019)

The Court held that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to review the district court’s denial of a § 2254 petitioner’s motions for substitute counsel. The orders were not final orders under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and did not fall under the collateral order doctrine since orders could be reviewed in an appeal from a denial of the petitioner’s §2254 motion.
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