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Supreme Court Docket

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Bell v. Kelly
No. 07-1223


    Edward Nathaniel Bell v. Loretta K. Kelly, Warden


    Capital Punishment, Lethal Injection, Ineffective Assistance, Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. section 2254(d), Mitigating Evidence, Aggravating Evidence


    Petitioner asserted ineffective assistance of counsel at sentencing, and the district court found that he had diligently attempted to develop and present the factual basis of this claim in state court, on habeas, but that the state court's fact-finding procedures were inadequate to afford a full and fair hearing. After an evidentiary hearing, the district court found deficient performance but no prejudice and denied relief. The Fourth Circuit affirmed. The questions presented are:

    1. Did the Fourth Circuit err when, in conflict with decisions of the Ninth and Tenth Circuits, it applied the deferential standard of 28 U.S.C. section 2254(d), which is reserved for claims "adjudicated on the merits" in state court, to evaluate a claim predicated on evidence of prejudice the state court refused to consider and that was properly received for the first time in a federal evidentiary hearing?

    2. Did the Fourth Circuit err when, in conflict with decisions of several courts of appeals and state supreme courts, it categorically discounted the weight of mitigating evidence for Strickland prejudice purposes whenever the evidence could also have aggravating aspects?

    3. Does Virginia's use and/or manner of administration of sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride, individually or together, as a method of execution by lethal injection, violate the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause?



  • Docket Sheet From the U.S. Supreme Court.


    Coming Soon
Counsel of Record

For Petitioner:

Richard P. Bress
Latham & Watkins LLP
Washington, DC

For Respondent:

Katherine P. Baldwin
Senior Assistant Attorney General
Office of Attorney General
Richmond, VA

Katherine B. Burnett
Senior Assistant Attorney
Office of Attorney General
Richmond, VA


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