NJC Capital Cases Resources
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U.S. Circuits

The National Judicial College has compiled the following resources specific to each of the United States Circuit Courts. This list will continue to be updated, so please continue to check back for additional resources.

Click on desired circuit on to view resource links.

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United States v. Sampson, No. 04-6001, 2007 WL 1393742 (1st Cir. 2007).
Discussion of capital cases jurisprudence as part of first review by the First Circuit of a death sentence imposed by a federal judge. http://www.ca1.uscourts.gov/pdf.opinions/04-6001-01A.pdf

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Holloway v. Horn, 355 F.3d 707 (3d Cir. 2004) [Westlaw] [Findlaw]
Defendant established prima facie Batson case.

Rompilla v. Horn, 355 F.3d 233 (3rd Cir. 2004), rehearing denied, 359 F.3d 310 (3rd Cir. Feb. 25, 2004) [Westlaw] [Findlaw]
Investigation and presentation of mitigating evidence.

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Humphries v. Ozmint, 397 F.3d 206 (4th Cir. 2005) [Westlaw] [Findlaw]
South Carolina – victim impact panel & closing arguments
Vacating prior panel opinion, 366 F.3d 266, following grant of petition for rehearing en banc, the Court of Appeals, the court held that:(1) determination by the South Carolina Supreme Court, in rejecting due process claim which was based upon prosecutor's detailed comparison of lives of capital murder defendant and his victim during closing argument at penalty phase of case, that this comparison did not affect fundamental fairness of capital sentencing procedure, did not represent unreasonable application of U.S. Supreme Court precedent, such as might warrant grant of federal habeas relief;(2) state law claims are not cognizable on federal habeas review; and (3) South Carolina Supreme Court reasonably interpreted federal law to find that admission of victim impact evidence did not violate capital murder defendant's due process right to fair trial, notwithstanding state's alleged failure to provide defendant with adequate advance notice of its intent to introduce such evidence.

Allen v. Lee, 366 F.3d 319 (4th Cir. 2004), rehearing denied, 370 F.3d 402 (4th Cir. June 4, 2004) [Westlaw] [Findlaw]
North Carolina
Court's McKay instruction regarding unanimity of jury's sentencing decision was not harmless error.

Wilson v. Ozmint, 352 F.3d 847 (4th Cir. 2003), modified, 357 F.3d 461 (4th Cir. 2004), cert. denied 124 S.Ct. 2879 (2004) [Westlaw] [Findlaw]
South Carolina
Plea to first degree murder of "guilty but mentally ill."

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Morrow v. Dretke, 367 F.3d 309 (5th Cir. 2004), cert. denied 125 S.Ct. 421 (2004) [Westlaw] [Findlaw]
Brady issues.

Riley v. Dretke, 362 F.3d 302 (5th Cir. 2004), cert. denied 125 S.Ct. 866 (2005) [Westlaw] [Findlaw]
Funds/investigation regarding evidence of Defendant's mental retardation.

Busby v. Dretke, 359 F.3d 708 (5th Cir. 2004), cert. denied, 124 S.Ct. 2812 (2004) [Westlaw] [Findlaw]
Defendant was not entitled to change of venue by mere reason of pretrial press coverage.

Roberts v. Dretke, 356 F.3d 632 (5th Cir. 2004), cert. denied 125 S.Ct. 1726 (2005) [Westlaw] [Findlaw]
Mental illness as mitigating circumstance.

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Workman v. Bredesen, No. 07-5562, 2007 WL 1311330 (6th Cir. 2007).
A panel of the Sixth Circuit voted 2-1 to vacate the stay granted by a district court judge of Philip Workman’s execution. Workman’s execution had been halted due to concerns about Tennessee’s revised execution method. http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/07a0162p-06.pdf (pdf file)

Hamblin v. Mitchell, 354 F.3d 482 (6th Cir. 2003), rehearing en banc denied, March 15, 2004 [Westlaw] [Findlaw]
Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to develop and present mitigation evidence in the form of Defendant's unstable and deprived childhood and Defendant's psychological problems.

Warren v. Lewis, 365 F.3d 529 (6th Cir. 2004) [Westlaw] [Findlaw]
Due Process did not require trial court to hold competency hearing before allowing Defendant to plead guilty.

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Henderson v. Briley, 354 F.3d 907 (7th Cir. 2004), cert. denied 124 S.Ct. 2912 (2004) [Westlaw] [Findlaw]
Assessment of Batson claim.

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Brown v. Luebbers, 371 F.3d 458 (8th Circuit, 2004), cert, denied 125 S.Ct. 1397 (2005) [Westlaw] [Findlaw]
Trial court affirmed. The exclusion from penalty phase of murder trial of letter from petitioner's younger brother did not constitute a due process violation warranting habeas relief.

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Ninth Circuit Capital Punishment Handbook

Jackson v. Giurbino, 364 F.3d 1002 (9th Cir. 2004) [Westlaw]
Miranda error was not harmless.

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Cargle v. Mullin, 317 F.3d 1196 (10th Cir. 2003) [Westlaw] [Findlaw]
Death sentence vacated as a result of counsel's ineffectiveness and cumulative errors (including prosecutorial misconduct) during guilt and penalty phases. Case also discusses admission of victim impact statements and photos depicting murder victims.

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