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Denial of Capital Habeas Petition, and Indian Law Matter

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By FindLaw Staff on June 07, 2010 11:24 AM

In Welch v. Workman, No. 07-5061, a capital habeas matter, the court of appeals affirmed the denial of petitioner's habeas petition, holding that: 1) even assuming an allegedly hearsay statement was testimonial, numerous third-party eyewitnesses testified that defendant repeatedly stabbed and beat the victim; 2) the overwhelming evidence presented in the guilt phase negated any reasonable belief the prosecutor's minimal questioning and closing comments had a substantial and injurious effect on the jury's guilty verdict; 3) the jury was instructed on the non-capital crime of first-degree manslaughter, and was not faced with an all-or-nothing choice; and 4) while portions of the victim impact statements went outside constitutional bounds, we this evidence did not so clearly sway the jury as to cause petitioner actual prejudice.

Iowa Tribe of Ks. v. Salazar, No. 08-3277, involved an action by an Indian tribe claiming that the Secretary of the Interior improperly took a small tract of land into trust on behalf of the Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma.  The court of appeals dismissed plaintiffs' appeal from the dismissal of the action, holding that the Secretary had already taken the land at issue into trust, and sovereign immunity thus precluded the relief sought by plaintiffs.

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