Criminal Procedure keyed to Kamisar
Williams v. Taylor
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Mr. Williams was sentenced to death for robbery and murder of Harris Stone (“Mr. Stone”) on November 3, 1985, in Danville, Virginia. Mr. Williams killed Mr.Stone with a mattock and robbed him after Mr. Stone refused to lend him money. Mr. Williams filed for state collateral relief in Danville Circuit Court arguing that his attorney was ineffective for failing to offer certain mitigating evidence at sentencing. After an evidentiary hearing on the issue, the State Circuit court found his trial attorney ineffective at the sentencing phase. The Virginia Supreme Court, while assuming the trial counsel was ineffective, disagreed with the trial judge’s conclusion that Mr. Williams suffered sufficient harm to warrant relief. Williams sought a federal writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section:2245, and the federal trial judge granted relief. The Federal Court of Appeals reversed the decision and sided with the Virginia Supreme Court. The evidence not offered at sentencing by Mr. Williams’ attorney included facts regarding his childhood, mental capacity, lack of education, prison behavior record, and favorable testimony from prison officials.
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