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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Courts - SCOTUS rejects 7th Circuit ruling re Joseph Corcoran [Updated]

This ILB entry from Dec. 31, 2008 summarizes a 2-1, 7th Circuit opinion in Joseph E. Corcoran v. Buss (ND Ind., Judge Sharp) affirming the DC finding that Corcoran was competent to waive his post-conviction proceedings, and reversing the decision of the district court to grant Joseph Corcoran habeas relief, remanding "with instructions to deny the writ, and the State of Indiana is at liberty to reinstate the death penalty."

This Jan. 1, 2009 entry quotes a story by Rebecca S. Green of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, headed "Death penalty back on table for Corcoran."

This Jan. 6, 2009 ILB entry, headed "Should Indiana law ban the execution of the mentally ill?," quotes a JG editorial. A quote:

Reinstatement of the death penalty against Joseph Corcoran marks another sad twist in a cruel and misplaced effort to extract justice from a mentally ill man. The sentence should again be thrown out on appeal, and Indiana lawmakers, in the meantime, should finally pass a law banning the execution of the mentally ill.
The SCOTUS today did throw out the 7th Circuit's opinion, but SB 22 did not make it out of committee during the past session.

Here is what SCOTUSlaw Blog has to say about today's action:

The Court issued one summary ruling (found here), requiring the Seventh Circuit Court to allow a federal judge to rule on several challenges to the death sentence of an Indiana man, Joseph Corcoran, convicted of four counts of murder. The Circuit Court had allowed Indiana to reinstate the death sentence for Corcoran even though no court had yet ruled on challenges other than the one that the Circuit Court explicitly rejected. This was an error, the Justices said Tuesday in their unsigned opinion in Corcoran v. Levenhagen (08-10945). There were no noted dissents.
[Updated 10/21/09] Check out this entry and comments on The Volokh Conspiracy for discussion of what the ruling means.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 20, 2009 05:10 PM
Posted to Courts in general | Ind Fed D.Ct. Decisions | Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions | Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions | Indiana Decisions