SCOTUScast 1-13-09 featuring Ronald Eisenberg
Bell v. Kelly
January 13, 2009Ronald Eisenberg
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SCOTUScast 1-13-09 featuring Ronald Eisenberg - MP3
Running Time: 00:12:00
On Wednesday, November 12, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Bell v. Kelly, and on Monday, November 17, the Court dismissed the case as improvidently granted. The Supreme Court granted certiorari in this case to consider the application of the deference rule in federal habeas review. The case arose from claims by Edward Bell of ineffective counsel during his sentencing following a 2001 conviction for murder. He was sentenced to death and, after having a habeas petition denied by the Virginia Supreme Court for failing to satisfy either prong of Strickland v. Washington, filed a habeas petition in federal district court alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The district court considered new evidence not presented at trial and found that, while his counsel had been ineffective, the state court's determination that he had failed to satisfy the prejudice prong of Strickland was reasonable and thus entitled to deference. The district court thus did not grant relief but did allow the case to be appealed. The Fourth Circuit on review considered only the prejudice prong and affirmed. Bell appealed to the Supreme Court, claiming that the deference rule should not apply to a claim based on evidence not heard by a state court, and the Supreme Court granted certiorari. However, after hearing oral argument in this case, the Court dismissed the writ as improvidently granted, without comment. Deputy District Attorney Ronald Eisenberg of the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office discusses the case.
Oral Argument - November 12, 2008: