Atkins v. Hooper
Opinion Date: November 3, 2020
Judge: Leslie Southwick
Areas of Law: Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law
The Fifth Circuit withdrew its previous opinion and affirmed the district court's denial of habeas relief to petitioner. Petitioner contends that the state court's decision denying his Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause claim was contrary to and involved an unreasonable application of Supreme Court precedent. The court held that Tennessee v. Street, 471 U.S. 409, 414 (1985), and Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, 88 S. Ct. 1620, 20 L. Ed. 2d 476 (1968), do not even address the Confrontation Clause issue raised by petitioner's claims. To the extent the state district court was applying either opinion, the court concluded that it was an unreasonable application to hold they controlled as to these different facts. Rather, the court concluded that Gray v. Maryland, 523 U.S. 185 (1998), was closer factually and analytically to what occurred in this case. Nonetheless, the court concluded that any error was harmless because it did not have a substantial and injurious effect or influence in determining the jury's verdict.
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