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Jennings v. Stephens

Docket No.: 13-7211
Certiorari Granted: 3/24/2014
Argued: October 15, 2014
Decided: January 14, 2015

Topics:

AEDPA, EPA, Natural Resources, capital murder, death penalty, equitable relief, habeas, habeas corpus, ineffective assistance of counsel, murder, probable cause, res judicata

PartyNames: Robert Mitchell Jennings v. William Stephens, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division
Petitioner: Robert Mitchell Jennings
Respondent: William Stephens, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Citation: 537 Fed.Appx. 326
Supreme Court Docket

Robert Mitchell Jennings
v.
William Stephens, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division
Consideration Limited:

LIMITED TO QUESTION 4 PRESENTED BY THE PETITION.

Question Presented:

1. Did the Fifth Circuit err in reversing the district court's grant of habeas corpus relief based on ineffective assistance of counsel at the punishment stage of a death penalty trial by deferring to a state court prejudice determination that was contrary to or involved an unreasonable application of clearly established Supreme Court precedent? 2. Did the Fifth Circuit err in holding that the state court reasonably determined that trial counsel made a sound strategic decision not to present any evidence of petitioner's disadvantaged background in a capital case where, in its absence, the jury was deprived of meaningful mitigating evidence that could have resulted in a life sentence? 3. Did the Fifth Circuit err in holding that the federal doctrine of waiver precludes a federal habeas court from considering an argument made initially in a footnote in a state court brief that was not waived under state law? 4. Did the Fifth Circuit err in holding that a federal habeas petitioner who prevailed in the district court on an ineffective assistance of counsel claim must file a separate notice of appeal and motion for a certificate of appealability to raise an allegation of deficient performance that the district court rejected even though the Fifth Circuit acquired jurisdiction over the entire claim as a result of the respondent's appeal?

Jennings v. Stephens
ORAL ARGUMENT

October 15, 2014

Listen to Oral Argument in Jennings v. Stephens
Holding: REVERSED AND REMANDED
Vote: 6-3
Majority: Judgment Reversed, Case Remanded. Scalia, Chief Justice Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan
Dissenting: Thomas,Kennedy,Alito
Opinion By:
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