Our Daily Summary Writers have been hard at work, summarizing opinions from all Federal Circuit Courts and all fifty state supreme courts for Justia’s daily and weekly newsletters. Below are some opinions of interest that they came across this past week.
In re Bacigalupo, California Supreme Court (8/27/12)
Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law
Petitioner was found guilty of the murders of two brothers. The trial court sentenced Petitioner to death. The Supreme Court affirmed. Petitioner subsequently filed a habeas corpus petition for relief from the judgment of death. The Supreme Court ordered an evidentiary hearing on Petitioner’s claim that the prosecution had failed to disclose evidence that would have supported a case in mitigation at the penalty phase that Petitioner committed the two murders because of a Colombian drug cartel’s death threats against him and his family. The referee found merit to Petitioner’s claim. The Supreme Court upheld the determination by the referee and granted Petitioner’s habeas corpus petition, holding (1) substantial evidence supported the referee’s determination, and (2) it was reasonably probable that Petitioner’s penalty phase jury would have returned a verdict of life imprisonment without parole had it heard the evidence withheld by the prosecution.