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Decision in Criminal Case, Plus Suit Involving Strip Search of Students

By FindLaw Staff on May 14, 2010 3:40 PM

In Eley v. Bagley, No. 06-4503, the Sixth Circuit faced a challenge to the district court's denial of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus by a defendant convicted of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery and sentenced to death. 

In affirming the district court's denial and dismissing the petition, the court held that the Ohio Supreme Court's finding that "the record fails to reveal sufficient indicia of incompetency" did not involve an unreasonable application of clearly established Supreme Court precedent.  Thre court then went on to reject defendant's claim that his counsel performed ineffectively by failing to investigate and present adequate mitigating evidence at the penalty phase as without merit.  And lastly, the court held that under Batson v. Bagley, any defect in the trial court's sentencing was cured by the appellate court's reweighing of the evidence presented on direct appeal.    

 Knisley v. Pike County Joint Vocational Sch., No. 08-3082 , concerned a challenge to the  denial of qualified immunity for defendants in a suit brought by eleven plaintiffs alleging that they and every other student in their high school nursing class were subjected to unconstitutional strip searches after students in the class reported that a credit card and other items were missing.

On remand from the United States Supreme Court, the district court's denial is affirmed as, Beard v. Whitmore Lake Sch. Dist. remains good constitutional law and because that law was clearly established at the time of the strip search in this case, precedent does not require a result contrary to that reached in Knisley I, as this circuit's clearly established case law on the issue put the school and its employees on notice that this search was unconstitutional.     

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