Thursday, May 21, 2009

Michael Bies

No longer on Death Row / Sentence vacated

Michael Bies # A264736
11781 St. Route 762
P. O. Box 209
Orient, Ohio 43146


SCOTUS Reverses the Circuit in Bies V. Bobby

No. 08–598. Argued April 27, 2009—Decided June 1, 2009

SCOTUS reversed the Sixth Circuit in Bies v. Bobby, 08-598. Writing for a unanimous Court, Justice Ginsberg found that the Double Jeopardy Clause did not bar the Ohio courts from conducting a full hearing on Bies'mental retardation claim. The Court found that since Bies was attempting to vacate his death sentence, and the State was not seeking to retry him or to increase his punishment, the case did not fall into the perameters of the Double Jeopardy Clause. The Court went on to hold that the doctrine of issue preclusion, barring relitigation of issues actually determined and necessary to the ultimate outcome of a prior proceeding, did not apply. It was not clear to the Court that the issue of Bies’ mental retardation was actually determined under the Lott test at trial or on direct appeal. Further, the Court found that the state courts’ statements regarding Bies’ mental capacity were not necessary to the judgments affirming his death sentence. Curiously, Justice Ginsberg asserted the idea that mental retardation as a mitigator and mental retardation under Atkins and Lott are discrete legal issues. What is odd about this statement is that mental retardation is a medical definition, and the idea that the definition changes with the context would likely surprise the APA.

Bobby v. Bies
Issue: Whether the holding of a state post-conviction hearing to determine the mental capacity of a capital defendant whose death sentence was affirmed before Atkins v. Virginia (2002), which barred the execution of mentally retarded defendants, violates the Double Jeopardy clause.



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JPay Email Option
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