Shoop v. Hill, 010719 FEDSC, 18-56

Docket Nº:18-56
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM.
Party Name:TIM SHOOP, WARDEN v. DANNY HILL
Case Date:January 07, 2019
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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586 U.S. ____ (2019)

TIM SHOOP, WARDEN

v.

DANNY HILL

No. 18-56

United States Supreme Court

January 7, 2019

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT

PER CURIAM.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that respondent Danny Hill, who has been sentenced to death in Ohio, is entitled to habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. §2254(d)(1) because the decisions of the Ohio courts concluding that he is not intellectually disabled were contrary to Supreme Court precedent that was clearly established at the time in question. In reaching this decision, the Court of Appeals relied repeatedly and extensively on our decision in Moore v. Texas, 581 U.S. ___(2017), which was not handed down until long after the state-court decisions.

The Court of Appeals' reliance on Moore was plainly improper under §2254(d)(1), and we therefore vacate that decision and remand so that Hill's claim regarding intellectual disability can be evaluated based solely on holdings of this Court that were clearly established at the relevant time.

I

In September 1985, 12-year old Raymond Fife set out on his bicycle for a friend's home. When he did not arrive, his parents launched a search, and that evening his father found Raymond-naked, beaten, and burned-in a wooded field. Although alive, he had sustained horrific injuries that we will not describe. He died two days later.

In 1986, respondent Danny Hill was convicted for torturing, raping, and murdering Raymond, and he was sentenced to death. An intermediate appellate court affirmed his conviction and sentence, as did the Ohio Supreme Court. We denied certiorari. Hill v. Ohio, 507 U.S. 1007 (1993).

After unsuccessful efforts to obtain postconviction relief in state and federal court, Hill filed a new petition in the Ohio courts contending that his death sentence is illegal under Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002), which held that the Eighth Amendment prohibits the imposition of a death sentence on a defendant who is "mentally retarded." In 2006, the Ohio trial court denied this claim, App. to Pet. for Cert. 381a-493a, and in 2008, the Ohio Court of Appeals affirmed, State v. Hill, 177 Ohio App.3d 171, 2008-Ohio-3509, 894 N.E.2d 108. In 2009, the Ohio Supreme Court denied review. State v. Hill, 122 Ohio St.3d 1502, 2009-Ohio-4233, 912 N.E.2d 107.

In 2010, Hill filed a new federal habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. §2254, seeking review of the denial of his Atkins claim. The District Court denied the petition, App. to Pet. for Cert. 77a-210a, but the Sixth Circuit reversed and granted habeas relief under §2254(d)(1), which applies when a state-court adjudication "resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States." See Hill v. Anderson, 881 F.3d 483 (2018). The Sixth Circuit found two alleged deficiencies in the Ohio courts' decisions: First, they "overemphasized Hill's adaptive strengths"; and second, they "relied too heavily on adaptive strengths that Hill exhibited in the controlled...

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