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Media Alerts - In re: Michael J. Pendleton; In re: Franklin X. Baines; In re: Corey Grant - Third Circuit
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October 7, 2013
  In re: Michael J. Pendleton; In re: Franklin X. Baines; In re: Corey Grant - Third Circuit
Headline: Third Circuit Rules that Minors Sentenced to Mandatory Life Sentences May Be Able to Have Their Sentences Reduced

Area of Law: Habeas Corpus

Issues Presented: Whether Miller v. Alabama applies retroactively to cases on collateral review?

Brief Summary:

The petitioners in these cases were all serving mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole for crimes committed while under the age of 18. In 2010, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that such mandatory life sentences violated the 8th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Petitioners filed for writs of habeas corpus to challenge the legitimacy of their incarceration giving the holding of Miller. Because this was at least the second habeas petition for each of them, they could not proceed with their claims in the district court until the court of appeals determined there was a good possibility that they would succeed on the merits of their claim. To succeed on the merits, petitioners have to show that the Supreme Court meant for the holding in Miller to apply retroactively to cases originally decided before the ruling in Miller was announced.
In its ruling, the Third Circuit noted a split in opinion on this issue amongst its sister courts of appeal. It concluded that those in favor of finding retroactivity had the better of the argument. Accordingly, the Court authorized each of the petitioners to file a new habeas petition in district court. In so doing, however, the Court stressed that its finding was tentative, and that the federal district judges should make their own determination as to whether the granting of a second writ was appropriate.
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Significance (if any):
Extended Summary:

Panel (if known): Rendell, Jordan, and Greenaway, Jr., Circuit Judges

Argument Date: September 10, 2013

Argument Location: Philadelphia, Pa

Date of Issued Opinion: October 3, 2013

Docket Number: No. 12-3617; No. 12-3996; No. 13-1455

Decided: petition granted

Case Alert Author: Kathleen D. Tran


Lisa B. Freeland, Esq. (Argued)
Federal Public Defender
Western District of Pennsylvania
Office of Federal Public Defender
Counsel for Petitioner Michael J. Pendleton

Stephen A. Zappala, Jr., Esquire
Michael W. Streily, Esquire
Rusheen R. Pettit, Esquire (Argued)
Allegheny County Office of the District Attorney
Counsel for Respondent Gerald Rozum, Superintendent at SCI Somerset

David R. Fine, Esquire (Argued)
George A. Bibikos, Esquire
K&L Gates, LLP
Counsel for Petitioner Franklin X. Baines

R. Seth Williams, Esquire
Hugh J. Burns, Jr., Esquire
Thomas W. Dolgenos, Esquire
Ronald Eisenberg, Esquire (Argued)
Edward F. McCann, Jr., Esquire
Philadelphia County Office of District Attorney
Counsel for Respondents Louis S. Folino, Superintendent, SCI, Green; The Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Marc Bookman, Esq.
Atlantic Center for Capital Representation
Counsel for the Atlantic Center for Capital Representation, Amicus Petitioner

Bradley S. Bridge, Esq.
Defender Association of Philadelphia
Counsel for the Defender Association of Philadelphia, Amicus Petitioner

Marsha L. Levick, Esq.
Juvenile Law Center of Philadelphia
Counsel for the Juvenile Law Center of Philadelphia, Amicus Petitioner

David B. Glazer, Esquire (Argued)
Glazer & Luciano
Counsel for Petitioner Corey Grant

Paul J. Fishman, Esquire
Mark E. Coyne, Esquire
Steven G. Sanders, Esquire (Argued)
Office of United States Attorney
Counsel for Respondent United States of America

Author of Opinion: Per Curiam

Circuit: 3rd Circuit

Case Alert Circuit Supervisor: Prof. Mark Anderson

    Posted By: Susan DeJarnatt @ 10/07/2013 11:38 AM     3rd Circuit  

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