Attorney General Paxton joined a Kentucky-led amicus brief to support Ohio’s petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court in the capital case Shoop v. Cunningham, No. 21-1587. The Cincinnati-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit adopted a view of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) that encourages harassment of jurors sitting in judgment on capital punishment cases because it invites evidence that impeaches the jury’s deliberations, which is both vague and inadmissible.
The amicus brief argues that courts have long acknowledged the need to protect jurors from harassment to preserve the integrity of the jury process in criminal cases, and urges the Supreme Court to reverse the Sixth Circuit’s judgment to prevent erosion of those protections.
“This Court has repeatedly recognized the important guardrails that underpin AEDPA, which require federal courts to respect the finality of state-court judgments,” the brief states. “Federal courts are prohibited from ‘needlessly prolong[ing]’ a case. . . . Yet nothing could be more ‘needless’ than allowing a federal court to hold an evidentiary hearing to explore the ramifications of inadmissible evidence.”
To read a copy of the amicus brief click here.