Opinions Relating to Orders - 2022

Shoop v. Cunningham

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 and JUSTICE GORSUCH join, dissenting from denial of certiorari.

In 2002, respondent Jeronique Cunningham concluded an armed robbery of his drug dealer with a spray of bullets that killed a teenager and a toddler. An Ohio jury convicted him of capital murder, and the trial court sentenced him to death.

Twenty years later, the Sixth Circuit ordered an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the foreperson’s presence on the jury deprived Cunningham of due process— either because the foreperson received prejudicial outside information about Cunningham or because she was biased by an undisclosed relationship with the victims’ families.

In analyzing the first claim, the Sixth Circuit once again flouted the deferential standard of review demanded by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). In analyzing the second claim, the Sixth Circuit applied an incorrect framework to justify a fishing expedition based on allegations with no admissible factual foundation. To correct these manifest abuses of the Sixth Circuit’s habeas jurisdiction, I would grant Ohio’s petition and summarily reverse the judgment below. Therefore, I respectfully dissent from denial of certiorari.