[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Monday granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in Magwood v. Culliver [docket; cert. petition, PDF]. The court limited its grant of certiorari to the first question presented, whether "[w]hen a person is resentenced after having obtained federal habeas relief from an earlier sentence, is a claim in a federal habeas petition challenging that new sentencing judgment a 'second or successive' claim under 28 USC § 2244(b) [text] if the petitioner could have challenged his previous sentence on the same constitutional grounds." The basic issue is whether a defendant can raise a challenge that could have been but was not raised in an earlier habeas petition. The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed [opinion, PDF] the district court's decision to deny all cross-claims made by the defendant. The court of appeals reversed the district court's decision that the defendant had received ineffective assistance from counsel.
The case involves defendant Billy Joe Magwood, on death row in Alabama. Magwood was sentenced to death for murdering a county sheriff. His original death sentence was overturned in 1986, but he was later sentenced to death again. He challenged the second sentence, but the Eleventh Circuit ruled that his claim should have been raised in the first sentencing.