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Rehearing Denied in Cook v. Schriro

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In 1996, Congress cracked down hard on successive habeas petitions, i.e., filing a new habeas petition to attack a conviction and sentence after a prior petition was denied.  This was the one immediately successful reform of the habeas chapter of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, and the increase in executions in the years that followed was partly due to this.  (The other important reforms have taken longer, and one remains unimplemented.)

The capital defense bar has been trying to evade this restriction ever since.  Instead of filing successive petitions, they now routinely file motions to reopen the old petition in the district court under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6), with mixed results.

Arizona murderer Daniel Cook tried something analogous in the Supreme Court itself, filing a petition for rehearing on a certiorari petition denied three years ago, No. 08-7229.  The Court considered this petition in three conferences, but it finally denied it today.  The orders list is here.

There were no opinions in argued cases or grants of certiorari in criminal cases today.  There was one per curiam opinion.

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The per curiam opinion has a very nice discussion of rational inferences from evidence.

I suspect that habeas courts are going to get the message about Jackson v. Virginia.

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