2018 Term Decisions of Interest to Capital Habeas Practitioners
Shoop v. Hill, 586 U.S. ___ (Jan. 7, 2019) (per curiam) - Reversing ruling by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that the state court’s rejection of Hill’s claim that he is ineligible for the death penalty due to his intellectual disability was contrary to clearly established Supreme Court precedent at the time of the state court decisions. In reaching its conclusion, the Sixth Circuit “relied repeatedly and extensively on . . . Moore v. Texas, 581 U. S. ___ (2017), which was not handed down until long after the state-court decisions.” Such reliance “was plainly improper under §2254(d)(1).” The Sixth Circuit’s decision is vacated and the case remanded so that Hill’s claim regarding intellectual disability can be evaluated based solely on Supreme Court precedent that was clearly established at the relevant time.