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Capital Habeas Matter, and Civil Rights and Immigration Matters

By FindLaw Staff on September 13, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In Heishman v. Ayers, No. 07-99016,  a capital habeas matter, the court affirmed the denial of the petition, holding that 1) there is no reasonable likelihood that certain false testimony could have changed the jury's verdict or that the cumulative impact of the false testimony and undisclosed Brady material would have changed the jury's verdict; 2) although counsel's investigation regarding mitigation evidence could have been initiated earlier, petitioner did not show that counsel's timetable was per se constitutionally deficient under professional norms existing in 1980; and 3) the additional mitigation evidence that might have been uncovered was not compelling when weighed against the case in aggravation.

In Rhodes v. Robinson, No. 08-16363, an action alleging that prison guards violated plaintiff's civil rights by retaliating against him for exercising his First Amendment right to pursue the prison grievance process against them, the court reversed in part the dismissal of the complaint where the new claims in plaintiff's second amended complaint (SAC) should not have been dismissed, because they were properly exhausted before he tendered his SAC to the district court for filing.

In Thompson v. Runnels, No. 08-16186, a first-degree murder prosecution, the court reversed the denial of petitioner's habeas petition, holding that the admission at trial of petitioner's confession violated the privilege against self-incrimination, because the investigating officers deliberately withheld Miranda warnings until after he had confessed to the crime.

In Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc., No. 08-15693, an action alleging that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), working in concert with other government agencies and officials of foreign governments, operated an extraordinary rendition program to gather intelligence by apprehending foreign nationals suspected of involvement in terrorist activities and transferring them in secret to foreign countries for detention and interrogation by U.S. or foreign officials, the court affirmed the dismissal of the action where 1) the Reynolds state secret privilege may be asserted at any time, even at the pleading stage; and 2) at least some of the matters the government sought to protect from disclosure in the litigation were valid state secrets, which, in the interest of national security, should not be divulged.

Vukmirovic v. Holder, No. 05-75936, involved a petition for review of the BIA's denial of petitioner's motion to reopen.  The court granted the petition where the case presented "exceptional circumstances" within the meaning of the controlling statute, 8 U.S.C. section 1252b(f)(2), and thus a remand for the asylum hearing the court held that petitioner was entitled to in 2004 was warranted.

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