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Denial of Habeas Relief in Capital Case Affirmed

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By FindLaw Staff on June 01, 2010 2:56 PM

In Phillips v. Bradshaw, No. 06-4418, the Sixth Circuit faced a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's petition for habeas relief arising from a conviction for rape and aggravated murder and a death sentence, alleging, inter alia, claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and sufficiency of the evience to support his convictions.

In affirming the conviction and the sentence, the court first held that the defendant did not meet his burden of demonstrating a reasonable probability that, but for the alleged error of omitting certain mitigating evidence, he would not have been sentenced to death, and he also failed to show that the state court's decision was contrary to or an unreasonable application of Strickland under the modified-AEDPA standard.  Next, the court held that sufficient evidence supported defendant's convictions, and that defendant did not demonstrate any juror bias.  Finally, the court held that the re-reading of identical jury instructions did not qualify as critical stages of trial, and defendant identified no prejudice stemming from his counsel's absence during this event. 

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