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Thomas v. Horn, No. 05-9006

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By FindLaw Staff on July 01, 2009 3:18 PM

District court's denial of petition for habeas relief as to petitioner's guilt phase claims is affirmed where: 1) the court's reasonable doubt jury instruction may have lessened the prosecution's burden of proof, but was not unconstitutional; 2) the Commonwealth's closing argument at sentencing did not violate petitioner's due process and Eighth Amendment rights; and 3) counsel's failure to ask the jury life-qualifying questions did not constitute ineffective assistance of counsel. The court's grant of sentencing relief is vacated where petitioner cannot demonstrate that his counsel was deficient at sentencing based on the evidence on the record, and remand the case for an evidentiary hearing concerning the extent of petitioner's counsel's pre-sentencing investigative efforts to obtain mitigating evidence.   

Read Thomas v. Horn, No. 05-9006

Appellate Information
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Argued May 1, 2009
Filed: July 1, 2009

Judges
Before: MCKEE, SMITH, and STAPLETON, Circuit Judges.
Opinion by SMITH, Circuit Judge.

Counsel
For Plaintiff: Maureen Kearney Rowley, Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
For Defendant: David Curtis Glebe.

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