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Capital Defense Weekly Capital Defense Weekly

Covering Capital Defense
By Karl R. Keys, Esq.

Post Frequency: 109.4/day

Last Entry: February 06, 2013 at 18:28:01

Recent Entries: 1094

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Repairs under way

Posted on February 06, 2013
Site got hacked. Hopefully the backup can be restored soon. No new content is anticipated to be added at any time in the foreseeable future.

Final shutdown

Posted on December 08, 2012
The site will go completely dark starting January 1, 2013.

Closing down

Posted on July 26, 2011
As previously noted we are closing down.  Starting Labour Day weekend this site will automatically redirect to an archive of the website. Additionally, Karl will begin blogging, soon, under a pseudonym. In response to several emails asking to take over Weekly, I’m not sure yet of the final direction I’ll head with this, however, I suspect the [...

Where next?

Posted on July 21, 2011
As announced in the last edition, the weekly email edition is done.  The archives will be stored in a new site with a “resurrection” of a project abandoned years ago, the “Toolbox,” which is a collection of guides and source materials on a wide variety of subjects, some of which will be original works, most [...

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first edition of July

Posted on July 11, 2011
From this week’s intro: Leading off this edition is John Wayne Conner v. Hall from the Eleventh Circuit. As Tim Cone notes, here ?[t]he district court had rejected Conner?s challenge to his execution on the grounds of mental retardation because it found that Conner had procedurally defaulted this claim in the Georgia state courts...

first look

Posted on July 06, 2011
Running really late, in part due to a large number of opinions. From the next edition: Relief granted Roy Phillip Ballard v. State, 2011 Fla. LEXIS 1521 (FL 6/30/2011) “[I]mposition of the death penalty in this case to be disproportionate. … Continue reading →


Posted on June 28, 2011
This weeks edition improperly listed both Sutton v. Bell and Apanovitch v Bobby incorrectly as “wins.” Call it wishful thinking or a Freudian click or whatever, it was erroneous and will be cleaned up in the archives.


Posted on June 28, 2011
This weeks edition improperly listed both Sutton v. Bell and Apanovitch v Bobby incorrectly as “wins.” Call it wishful thinking or a Freudian click or whatever, it was erroneous and will be cleaned up in the archives.


Posted on June 28, 2011
In a long overdue post, the most recent edition of Reaon mag focuses on criminal justice issues. I’ve never understood the progressive-liberatarian schism on civil liberties issues liker why we let statists right and left dare speak for us on issues like marijuana reform, over incarceration, or capital punishment.


Posted on June 28, 2011
Congrats to the new head of the NJ Public Defender’s Office, Joe Krakora – the former head of death penalty defense in that state. I am reminded of how lucky Kentucky’s DPA was when PD & capital litigation superstars Ernie Lewis and Ed Monahan were made, in succession, the head of that agency...

last edition of June

Posted on June 27, 2011
This week’s  edition is here. We’ve been gone a few weeks and there is more than a little catching up to do. Leading off is Terrell M. Johnson v. Secretary from the Eleventh Circuit.    The Defense Newsletter’s Tim Cone notes that  the court granted “federal habeas relief because counsel was ineffective in preparing a [...


Posted on June 26, 2011
The first look at the next, trial delayed, edition. Still working through the various SCOTUS developments and a case from California. SCOTUS Balentine v. Texas, No. 10-11036 (10A1226) (6/15/2011) Stay granted pending disposition of a cert petition. Lee Andrew Taylor v...

bad botch in Georgia

Posted on June 23, 2011
Georgia botched the execution of  Roy Willard Blankenship Thursday night, apparently badly. From wire sources: Georgia execution botched tonight, apparently badly. “As the injection began, he jerked his head toward his left arm and made a startled face while blinking rapidly...

a tad late

Posted on June 19, 2011
We’re running a tad late since Karl is on trial. As soon as the defense closing is in we’ll run next.

David C. Baldus passes

Posted on June 15, 2011
David C. Baldus, a giant among legal academics, has passed. He is missed by all who know him or his work, but perhaps he will missed most by our clients.

first look

Posted on June 12, 2011
From the next edition: Ex parte Carl Brad Ward; (In re: Carl Brad Ward v. State of Alabama), 2011 Ala. LEXIS 87 (Ala 6/3/2011) On postconviction review, a Rule 32 petition,  ?Ward has sufficiently pleaded a claim of newly discovered material facts and that he is entitled to an opportunity to prove his allegations...

current edition – first full week in June

Posted on June 07, 2011
From the current edition: Leading off this week is the Florida Supreme Court’s decision in Michael Coleman v. State.  Trial counsel at a postconviction evidentiary hearing “testified that he was convinced Coleman was innocent and indicated he had no reason to believe he needed to pursue mitigation for the penalty phase...

first look

Posted on June 06, 2011
From the first draft of the next edition: Eugene Tyrone Decastro v. Branker, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 11199 (4th Cir 6/3/2011) ?In a petition for habeas relief from a conviction of first degree murder, judgment of the district court denying relief is affirmed where applicaton on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel and state [...

Memorial Day week edition now available

Posted on June 01, 2011
This week’s edition is available: Leading off this edition is Sean Carter v. Bradshaw from the Sixth Circuit.  A split panel in Carter holds that Petitioner incompetent to proceed in federal habeas proceedings. Specifically,  “Carter had refused to meet with his attorneys to discuss collateral attacks on his conviction” and his “attorneys also claimed that [...

off-topic: not everything on the net is necessarily true, not every lawyer on the net is truthful

Posted on May 26, 2011
Three related, but off-topic points: 1.  There has been a meme floating around the net of late concerning the so-called Rakofsky v. Internet (which concerns a lawyer who fell flat in his first trial — a federal murder trial — whose internet advertising suggested he was exceptionally experienced but in reality had been practicing for [...

this week’s edition

Posted on May 25, 2011
This week’s edition is out: Leading off this edition are two rather straightforward decisions, State v. Thomas Sparks, Jr. from the Louisiana Supreme Court and  Ex parte Andrew Anthony Apicella from the Alabama Supreme Court. In Sparks a remand for an evidentiary hearing is ordered on the issue of trial counsel?s performance, however, the Court?s [...

running exceptionally late, here’s what we have so far

Posted on May 24, 2011
From the next edition: SCOTUS Brown v. Plata,  2011 U.S. LEXIS 4012 (5/23/2011) In an unusually blunt language Court holds the Eighth Amendment requires something more than warehousing inmates. In favor of the Accused or Condemned State v. Thomas Sparkes, Jr...

out soon

Posted on May 23, 2011
This week’s edition is running late, my apologies. – k


Posted on May 13, 2011
I’m in the Outer Banks for a little pre-season R&R  and the weekly won’t run this week.  I’m truly upset as I won’t get to tell the cautionary tale, as Simple Justice’s Scott Greenfield calls it, of Rakofsky v. The Internet TM...

Mother’s Day week edition available

Posted on May 10, 2011
This week’s edition is now available: Leading off this week is a case inexplicably missed last week, Bobby v. Harry Mitts. Fortunately, Mitts breaks no new ground. The Court in  Mitts, the Law Journal notes, held that “Beck v. Alabama does not compel reversal of the death sentence here, since there is no reason to [...

first peek

Posted on May 08, 2011
The next issue will focus on a few odds and ends, with no “win” yet jumping out at me. In favor of the Accused or Condemned: Morehart v. Hon . Barton, 2011 Ariz. LEXIS 22 (Az 4/29/2011) State constitution?s requirements governing victims? rights do not trump the right to present a defense and to have [...

first week in May edition

Posted on May 03, 2011
From this week’s edition: Leading of this week are two decisions from the Third Circuit that are relatively mundane, Joseph J. Kindler v. Horn and Mumia Abu-Jamal, a/k/a Wesley Cook v. Secretary. Both are remands from the United States Supreme Court...

first peek at this week’s cases

Posted on May 01, 2011
Still slogging through the new cases, but two notable grants of relief are had, Joseph J. Kindler v. Horn and Mumia Abu-Jamal, a/k/a Wesley Cook v. Secretary. Both are remands from the United States Supreme Court. Both reinstate prior grants of relief under Mills, and, in the Kindler, on ineffective assistance of counsel...

last week in April edition

Posted on April 25, 2011
From this week’s intro: Leading off this edition is a case missed last week, the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision in State v. Gregory Bowman. Over objection, the court below permitted the prosecution to present evidence that Mr. Bowman had previously been convicted of murder in Illinois...

next edition

Posted on April 24, 2011
The next edition  has two really notable opinions, Mark Breakiron v. Horn (notable alternate ground of relief: counsel’s performance during jury selection) and United States v. Jeffrey R. McDonald (remand granted on availability of prefiling – on a successive petition – DNA testing): Not in favor of “the man” Mark Breakiron v...

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