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Grant of Capital Habeas Petition, and Attorney's Fees and Civil Procedure Matters

By FindLaw Staff | Last updated on

Fruitt v. Astrue, No. 09-6027, involved a motion for attorney's fees following the district court's reversal of the Social Security Commissioner's denial of benefits to plaintiff.  The court of appeals reversed the district court's denial of costs to plaintiff, on the ground that the fourteen-day deadline for a bill of costs under the Local Rules for the United States District Court, Western District of Oklahoma, W.D. Okla. L.R. 54.1, did not establish a time limit for an Equal Access to Justice Act fee request.

Phillips v. Workman, No. 08-7043, involved a capital habeas matter.  The court of appeals reversed the denial of the petition, holding that 1) second-degree murder was a lesser-included offense at the time of petitioner's trial and at the time the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals denied petitioner's petition for rehearing, and thus petitioner was entitled to an instruction on that charge; and 2) a jury could rationally conclude that the victim's death was perpetrated by an act imminently dangerous to the victim and evincing a depraved mind, but without a premeditated design to effect death.

WildEarth Guardians v. Nat'l. Park Serv., No. 08-1479, concerned an action challenging the National Park Service's proposal to reduce the elk population in Rocky Mountain National Park.  The court of appeals reversed the denial of a hunting and conservation organization's motion to intervene as a defendant, holding that 1) the intervenor demonstrated that it had a substantial interest in the district court proceedings and that its interest might be impaired as a result of the litigation; and 2) the district court needed to determine whether the intervenor's interests were already adequately represented.

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