Friday, September 02, 2016

Holland v. Allbaugh, 2016 WL 3145595 (6/6/16) (Okla.) - Because it finds the district court did not afford proper AEDPA deference and that the Oklahoma court's application of Supreme Court law was not unreasonable, the Tenth reverses the grant of habeas relief: At issue was whether the defendant's due process right to a fundamentally fair trial was violated by admission of the co-defendant's confession and statement that "we don't associate with black guys" and victim testimony regarding the defendant's Nazi tattoos. The district court erred by relying on general legal principles that the Supreme Court developed in a different factual context. State courts have leeway to make case-by-case determinations that apply broad rules. Nor was counsel ineffective in failing to object to admission of this evidence. The Tenth applies its "doubly deferential" review of the state court's denial of an ineffective assistance claim. Not only must there be proof that counsel's actions were unreasonable; there must be no reasonable argument that counsel's performance satisfied Strickland's deferential standard. Here, the disputed evidence was relevant, there was substantial evidence supporting conviction, and no reasonable probability that the trial outcome would have been different if the disputed evidence had been excluded.