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Maples Case on Conference List

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The US Supreme Court has put the certiorari petition in the Alabama murder case of Maples v. Allen, No. 10-63, on its list to be considered at tomorrow's conference.

The case has been dormant since the "long conference" in late September.  It presents an issue related to the one in the pending case of Walker v. Martin, and counsel for Maples, former SG Gregory Garre, filed an amicus brief in Martin.  The restoration of the case to active consideration may portend some action in Martin.

In the simplified version of the Maples case, he missed the deadline for appeal of his state post-conviction petition when his pro bono lawyers left their big-name NYC law firm, and the firm's mailroom just returned a notice to the Alabama court instead of forwarding it.  The truth is a little messier.  Maples also had local Alabama counsel who received actual notice but did nothing.  The two NYC lawyers had failed to notify the court of their change of address.  This is a case of lawyer failure of duty, not mailroom clerk error.

Maples' claim does not dispute that he is the one who shot Stacy Terry and Barry Robinson in the head with a .22.  He claims the old too-intoxicated-to-form-the-mental-state defense.  (In noncapital cases, at least, the State may decide, as a matter of penological policy, "too damn bad," which was the common law rule.  See Montana v. Egelhoff, 518 U.S. 37 (1996).)  Given the lack of any basic miscarriage of justice, it seems an inappropriate case to bend the rules.  The Eleventh Circuit opinion is here.

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IIRC, the intoxication defense isn't all that hot either once the spin of habeas counsel is stripped away.

What's ridiculous is if this guy gets to file a habeas case, all this satellite litigation given this guy a year or so more. He should not profit from his attorneys' sloth.

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