DANNY HILL v. CARL ANDERSON, Warden - Articles

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Posted by: Landry Butler on Feb 2, 2018

Court: 6th Circuit Court (Published Opinions)

Attorneys 1:

ARGUED: Vicki Ruth Adams Werneke, FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER’S OFFICE, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellant. Peter T. Reed, OFFICE OF THE OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellee.

Attorneys 2:

ON BRIEF: Vicki Ruth Adams Werneke, Lori B. Riga, FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER’S OFFICE, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellant. Peter T. Reed, Stephen E. Maher, OFFICE OF THE OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellee.

Judge(s): MERRITT, MOORE, and CLAY, Circuit Judges.

Court Appealed: Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio at Youngstown.

MERRITT, Circuit Judge. In this death penalty case out of Ohio, Danny Hill asserts in his habeas petition that he may not be executed because he is “intellectually disabled,” as now defined in three Supreme Court cases decided in the past fifteen years. Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002), was decided and made retroactive after Hill was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, so although Hill raised his intellectual disability as a mitigating factor in the penalty phase of his trial, he was not afforded the constitutional protections set forth in Atkins during his original trial. Our court issued a remand order in 2002 directing the State of Ohio to assess Hill’s intellectual functioning in light of Atkins. Hill v. Anderson, 300 F.3d 679 (6th Cir. 2002). The issue now before us is whether that assessment comports with Atkins and the Supreme Court’s later opinions on the subject. We conclude that the courts in Ohio have unreasonably applied the Supreme Court’s three-part standard in this case.