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Another summary AEDPA reversal

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Once again, the US Supreme Court has summarily and unanimously reversed a circuit divisible by 3 in a capital case for failing to obey the mandate of Congress to respect the finality of state court decisions on debatable questions.  From Bobby v. Dixon:

Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, a state prisoner seeking a writ of habeas corpus from a federal court "must show that the state court's ruling onthe claim being presented in federal court was so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement." Harrington v. Richter, 562 U. S. ___, ___ (2011) (slip op., at 13). The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit purported to identify three such grievous errors in the Ohio Supreme Court's affirmance of respondent Archie Dixon's murder conviction. Because it is not clear that the Ohio Supreme Court erred at all, much less erred so transparently that no fairminded jurist could agree with that court's decision, the Sixth Circuit's judgment must be reversed.

Update:  The Toledo Blade has background on the case.

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The two Sixth Circuit judges responsible for the opinion were Judge Cole (appointed by Bill Clinton) and Judge Merritt (appointed by Jimmy Carter). The Supreme Court's opinion is well worth a read. It is scathing in its analysis of the handiwork of these learned jurists.

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