April 25th, 2021
US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinions
Thomas v. Lumpkin
Opinion Date: April 23, 2021
Judge: Leslie H. Southwick
Areas of Law: Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law
Petitioner, an inmate on death row in Texas, filed a federal habeas application under 28 U.S.C. 2254, arguing that his counsel was constitutionally ineffective in numerous ways at trial and sentencing. Petitioner's convictions stemmed from his murder of his wife, son, and step-daughter. The Fifth Circuit granted a certificate of appealability on four of petitioner's issues. As a preliminary matter, the court concluded that petitioner's notice of appeal was timely and thus the court has jurisdiction. The court affirmed the district court's denial of habeas relief, concluding that the state court's decision was not contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court, or was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the state court proceeding. In this case, the court concluded that petitioner is not entitled to relief on the basis that the state court improperly resolved the claim that any partial jurors were seated; on the basis of the claim involving the jurors who expressed opposition to interracial marriage; and on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to challenge petitioner's competency to stand trial, in rebutting the voluntary-intoxication theory, and in presenting a mitigation defense.
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