Opinions Relating to Orders - 2021

Shoop v. Cassano

The motion of respondent for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied. JUSTICE THOMAS, with whom JUSTICE ALITO joins, dissenting from denial of certiorari. In 1997, respondent August Cassano was serving a life sentence in Ohio for aggravated murder. The prison assigned Cassano a new cellmate, Walter Hardy. A few days later, Cassano murdered Hardy by stabbing him 75 times with a prison shank. An Ohio jury convicted Cassano of capital murder, and the trial court sentenced him to death.

Yet, more than 20 years later, the Sixth Circuit granted Cassano habeas relief because it thought that the state trial court had ignored Cassano when he purportedly invoked his right to represent himself at trial. In doing so, the Sixth Circuit failed to treat the state-court adjudication of Cassano’s self-representation claim with the deference demanded by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). To correct this manifest error, I would grant Ohio’s petition and summarily reverse the Sixth Circuit. Therefore, I respectfully dissent from denial of certiorari.