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Cert. Granted in Maples

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Today the US Supreme Court decided to take up the case of Maples v. Thomas (not Maples v. Maples, as the orders list erroneously says it's fixed), No. 10-63.  The Court limited the grant of certiorari to Question 2.  As drafted by counsel for petitioner, that question reads:

Whether the Eleventh Circuit properly held--in conflict with the decisions of this Court and other courts--that there was no "cause" to excuse any procedural default where petitioner was blameless for the default, the State's own conduct contributed to the default, and petitioner's attorneys of record were no longer functioning as his agents at the time of any default.
This phrasing of the question commits the fallacy of assuming the conclusion.  Of course it would not be proper for the Eleventh Circuit to hold in conflict with Supreme Court precedent, but that is precisely the question in dispute.  The Supreme Court precedent closest in its facts is Coleman v. Thompson.  In that case, the Court held that ineffective assistance of state habeas counsel in blowing a deadline to appeal denial of habeas in the state trial court is not "cause" for a procedural default opening the claim up to federal habeas review.

4 Comments

I drafted a few Supreme Court briefs in the olden days, and I always got a chuckle out of how the defense lawyer would try to load the question. Today's example is a real peach, but I don't think he went far enough.

He should have said, "...and petitioner's attorneys of record were no longer functioning as his agents, and indeed had become disciples of Satan."

Then the defense bar wonders why it doesn't get taken seriously.

Even stranger is the fact that defense counsel is former Bush Administration SG Gregory Garre.

Why are so many former Republican DoJ officials representing clearly guilty murderers contra bono publico? Has America completely run out of worthy recipients of pro bono services?

The attention given to this case is simply remarkable. What irks me is that the Supreme Court will give so much attention to this case, but ignore others where the law was blown off for the benefit of capital murderers.

Battered conservative syndrome.

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