Protected Speech

The Ninth Circuit ruled a lower court improperly denied an immigrant’s habeas petition, which argued that his arrest and re-detention was “retaliation for his protected speech.” The immigrant was re-arrested less than 36 hours after he read a poem that criticized Immigration and Customs Enforcement practices. The government has the burden to show that it “would have taken the same action even in the absence of the protected conduct.”

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Murder for Hire

The Seventh Circuit affirmed the grant of a habeas petition to a man who was convicted of murder for hire after telling a hitman — really an undercover police officer — that he wanted his ex-wife and her boyfriend killed. The man claims his excluded testimony about his interactions with a police informant would have demonstrated that his meeting with a hitman was a charade, and he never intended to have anyone murdered.

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Habeas Corpus

Ronald Prible, who was convicted of capital murder in 2002 for the killings of two adults and three children, is entitled to habeas corpus relief, a federal court in Texas ruled, finding the state suppressed material evidence that two jailhouse informants were “part of an organized attempt to secure favors in return for fabricating a false confession,” and committed other violations. 

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Insufficient Assistance

The California Supreme Court granted a habeas petition for a potential retrial of a man convicted of murdering a police officer, finding that his counsel committed serious errors during his trial. The man’s death sentence has already been vacated because of counsel’s deficient assistance during the penalty phase.

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