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Three restaurant robberies. Two bullets fired at each. One surviving victim.

Anthony Ray Hinton was the triggerman ... maybe.

According to the original appellate case opinion, the surviving witness, as well as others, identified Hinton as the perpetrator of the third robbery. (He was neither indicted nor convicted for the robbery, but was convicted and sent to death row over the two prior murders.) Then again, his boss and other witnesses claim that he was working in a locked, secured warehouse at the time of the robbery.

"Here, Mr. Howell appears to have colorable claims that both his trial attorney, who fabricated death threats to be excused from representing Mr. Howell, and his initial habeas attorney, who did not even contact Mr. Howell until after his federal habeas deadline had passed, were incompetent, ineffective, and deeply unprofessional. I continue to believe that it is unconstitutional and immoral for death row inmates to lose a fundamental constitutional right because of their attorney's errors, especially when they are as egregious as those we deal with here." (Judge Rosemary Barkett)

In short: Paul Howell got screwed. As we related earlier this week, Howell was convicted of killing a state trooper using a pipe bomb that was intended for a witness in an unrelated case. He's probably not a nice guy. He is, however, guaranteed a fair trial and a habeas appeal. Arguably, he received neither.

And thanks to the intricacies of habeas procedure, he won't, unless the Supreme Court steps in.

Déjà freaking vu. In fact, déjà déjà vu.

Last April, a particularly unsympathetic death row inmate was denied habeas review by the Eleventh Circuit despite his incompetent attorney's negligence. She botched the state collateral review petition, thereby missing the federal one-year deadline. The Eleventh refused to apply the Supreme Court's Holland v. Florida (2010) decision, where the Court held that an attorney's gross negligence warranted equitable tolling of the statute of limitations.

At the time, noted anti-death penalty judge Rosemary Barkett wrote a reluctant concurrence, citing her dissent in a similar case, Hutchinson v. Florida. The issue creept up again in Howell v. Florida, though with a different procedural history. Again, Barkett reluctantly concurred, citing the same concurrence.

Howell is now seeking Supreme Court review.

This is not a particularly exciting case, but it is an issue of first impression and a new rule in the Eleventh Circuit.

Sirtaj "Tosh" Mathauda was running a fake franchise scam. His pop-up companies would advertise franchises for businesses opportunities, such as vending machines and greeting card displays. They'd collect the fees using a Costa Rican call center, then shut down and keep the money. The operation netted millions in fraudulently obtained cash.

Mathauda was convicted on a handful of fraud charges, and he received a sentence enhancement for violating a court order (to stop scamming people) from a related civil proceeding brought by the FTC. The problem is, he never knew about that order.

If you didn't get enough of Stand Your Ground debates over the last two years, after Trayvon Martin's death and George Zimmerman's acquittal, we have good news for you: it's back in the headlines in two states.

The word out of Georgia is that a state lawmaker plans to introduce a bill to repeal the state's version of the law, while in Florida, the question is whether Curtis Reeves, the retired Tampa police officer who allegedly shot and killed a man for texting in a movie theater, would have a plausible claim under Florida's version of the law.

Here's what we know: Forrest "Jerry" Harris, Jr. was murdered. John Barfield hired either the defendant, Ernest Downs, or his former friend, Larry Johnson, to do the killing.

Johnson took a deal for immunity and fingered Downs. Barfield told his cellmate that Johnson did it, but the snitching cellmate's claims seem to have been ignored until after trial. Downs's attorney, Richard Brown, took an unethical contingency fee for the case, and presented no defense because he thought his client, and two alibi witnesses, were going to commit perjury (or because he was motivated by that contingency fee).

Everything about this conviction stinks. And yet Downs remains on death row.

Ludicrosity. Sheer and utter ludicrosity.

Amanda Cruz fiddled with her seatbelt at a stoplight, placing the shoulder strap behind her body, and neglecting to return it before taking off. Trooper Andy Page, ever worrisome about drivers' safety, pulled her over for the seatbelt violation, and when he ran her information through the system, a warrant for Amanda Cruz appeared.

Alleged Criminal Cruz has tattoos, light red hair, is 5'1" and was born on November 18, 1979. Cruising Cruz, showed the officer her arms and legs to prove that she had no tattoos. She also has dark brown hair, is 4'8", and as noted on her driver's license, was born on February 7, 1978.

This is not the same person! (Duh.)

On September 9, 2010, Monique Wilkerson was at a bar enjoying a meal and the first football game of the year, presumably the season-opening game between the then-defending-champion New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings, a rematch of the previous year's NFC title game. After hearing multiple pages from the DJ about her vehicle, which was legally parked, she went outside to investigate.

Her car was legally parked. Other cars weren't. But an off-duty police officer, Thedious Seymour, who was working security, told her that her car was about to be towed. He also explained that it would be easier to interrupt her meal, and have her move her legally-parked car, than to have all of the fools with illegally-parked cars move theirs.

When does a crime not count as a conviction, yet counts as a prior felony? When the Feds get involved, of course!

Omari Elliot was convicted of two counts of robbery, plus a count of brandishing a firearm during the crime. What was his sentence? Life, thanks to a pair of prior felony convictions under the career offender enhancement. One of those convictions, however, was a sealed youthful offender adjudication.

We get it: crack sentencing was a bit draconian. In order to address this disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences, which disproportionately affected black men, two major remedies were employed: the Fair Sentencing Act and Amendment 750 to the Sentencing Guidelines.

Nathaniel Hargrove argues that both apply here. He faced a mandatory minimum of 120 months, and a sentence of 120 to 125 months based on the drug tables and his prior felony conviction, but the court chose to depart upward, under U.S.S.G. § 4A1.3 to 240 months. Will he be the beneficiary of the twin sentencing reforms?