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Federal New Releases

New Releases
from Federal Courts

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Criminal law -- Murder -- Death penalty -- Habeas corpus -- Counsel -- Ineffectiveness -- Petitioner not entitled to relief on claim that he was denied effective assistance of counsel during penalty phase of trial because counsel's investigation or presentation of mitigating evidence was deficient -- Discovery -- State's failure to comply -- Petitioner failed to demonstrate prejudice as result of state's disclosure, three days prior to penalty phase, that petitioner might have genetic abnormality in form of XYY genotype or as result of counsel's failure to investigate and present evidence that petitioner may have had XYY genotype -- State court's denial of relief on these claims was not contrary to, or did not involve unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court, and did not result in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding

Criminal law -- Sentencing -- Federal guidelines -- Renewed section 3852(c)(2) motion for sentence reduction based on Amendment 750, which raised amount of crack cocaine necessary to receive base offense level of 38 -- Jurisdiction -- There is no clearly expressed jurisdictional limitation on district court's ability to hear successive section 3852(c)(2) motions based on the same amendment, and it would be improper for Court to read one into statute -- Rule 35(a)'s seven-day time limit for correcting errors not bar to renewed section 3852(c)(2) motion under circumstances of instant case -- Appeals -- Law of the case -- Any error on part of district court in failing to recalculate guidelines range using marijuana equivalency tables, as amended by Amendment 750, was harmless, as defendant would not benefit from this conversion -- Accordingly, defendant has offered no justification for Court to depart from its holding, in prior appeal from district court's denial of defendant's initial motion, that the district court used the correct version of the guidelines in calculating the defendant's new guidelines range under Amendment 750, that Amendment 750 did not apply to defendant based on the amount of crack cocaine for which he was found responsible, and that the district court did not err in denying defendant's request for a new presentence investigation report

Garnishment -- Exemptions -- Judgment debtor, whose workers' compensation funds were frozen upon issuance of garnishment summons until creditor finally conceded that funds were exempt from garnishment and agreed to dissolution of the hold on the funds, filed action seeking declaration that the Georgia post-judgment garnishment statute is unconstitutional and injunctive relief to restrain defendants from using allegedly unconstitutional garnishment process against plaintiff's property and from freezing any exempt funds in future -- Standing -- Judgment debtor has standing to seek declaratory and injunctive relief because he has demonstrated injury in fact where circumstances create “real and immediate” likelihood of future injury; causation where injury suffered is fairly traceable to defendant's conduct; and redressability where it is likely that injury suffered would be redressed by a favorable decision -- Mootness -- Release of judgment debtor's previously garnished funds and satisfaction of his debt did not moot debtor's claim against defendant -- Judgment debtor's challenge to Georgia's post-judgment garnishment statute satisfied requirements of “capable of repetition, yet evading review” exception to mootness doctrine where garnishment proceedings against debtor's exempt funds were generally too short to be fully litigated before challenged conduct ceased, and a substantial likelihood exists that debtor's funds will again be garnished to attempt to satisfy a debt against him or his wife that has already been reduced to judgment -- Constitutionality of statute -- Appellate court declined to pass on constitutionality of Georgia's post-judgment garnishment statute before ensuring that all interested parties have had notice and, if desired, a chance to present all evidence and arguments, and district court has had an opportunity to examine and consider evidence and argument when ruling on merits

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