Sunday, December 22, 2013

Bellamy v. Cogdell case brief

Bellamy v. Cogdell case brief summary
974 F.2d 302 (1992)

CASE SYNOPSIS
The court granted a rehearing in banc to consider the reversal, by a divided panel of the court, of petitioner-appellant's claim that the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, in denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. S.§ 2254, denied him effective assistance of counsel, due process, and a full and fair opportunity to litigate his attorney's competence pursuant to N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 440.

CASE FACTS
Petitioner-appellant was convicted of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Upon subsequently learning that his counsel had been suspended from the practice of law after an investigation of disciplinary and health problems, moved pursuant to N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 440 to vacate his conviction, claiming that he was not afforded effective representation as guaranteed by U.S. Constitutional Amendment VI. The district court denied his motion and, after exhausting his state remedies, petitioner-appellant moved in federal district court for a writ of habeas corpus on the same grounds. The district court rejected his claims, but a divided panel of the court reversed, and the court granted a rehearing in banc.

DISCUSSION

  • The court affirmed the district court judgment dismissing the habeas petition. It held that allegations of defense counsel's illness did not establish a per se denial of the Sixth Amendment right to effective counsel, and that the district court properly deferred to the state court's factual finding that defense counsel was mentally and physically capable to try the case and did so in a competent manner, where that finding was supported by the evidence.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the judgment of the district court, holding that allegations of defense counsel's illness did not make out a per se denial of the Sixth Amendmentright to effective assistance, and that the district court properly deferred to the state court's amply supported factual finding that defense counsel was mentally and physically able to try the case.


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