Davila v. Davis

PETITIONER: Erick Daniel Davila
RESPONDENT: Lorie Davie, Director, Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division
LOCATION: United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

DOCKET NO.: 16-6219
DECIDED BY:
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: US ()
GRANTED: Jan 13, 2017

Facts of the case

In February 2009, Erick Daniel Davila was found guilty of capital murder for the killings of Annette Stevenson and her granddaughter, Queshawn Stevenson. The jury sentenced Davila to death. After the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed his conviction on direct appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court denied his petition for a writ of certiorari, Davila pursued habeas relief in the state courts, which was denied at the trial and appellate levels. Davila then sought federal habeas relief and claimed, among other things, that he received ineffective assistance of trial, appellate, and state habeas counsel. Because Davila did not raise the ineffective assistance of appellate counsel claim in the state habeas proceedings, the federal district court held that the claim was procedurally defaulted and denied habeas relief. Davila appealed and argued that Supreme Court precedent that ineffective state habeas counsel can overcome the procedural default of an ineffective assistance of trial claim should also apply to the procedural default of claims of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of relief.

Question

Should the Supreme Court’s precedent that ineffective state habeas counsel can overcome the procedural default of an ineffective assistance of trial claim also apply to the procedural default of claims of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel?

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