As of January 2017, the United States Attorneys' Manual has been amended to reflect that requests to deauthorize a federal capital case may be made after the defendant has already been convicted and sentenced to death. Revised section 9-10.160 ("Withdrawal of the Notice of Intention to Seek the Death Penalty") includes a new subsection ("C. Requests for relief following conviction and sentence") that details the procedure for requesting such relief, as well as the various levels of review that such a request must undergo within DOJ before being authorized. The relevant section of the U.S. Attorney's Manual is available here.)
On May 1, 2015, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, reversed and remanded Bruce Webster’s case finding that his 28 USC § 2241 petition raising an Atkins claim was not an impermissible successive pleading. The Court held there is no categorical bar in section 2241 where new evidence shows that a certain penalty is categorically prohibited by the Constitution. Because the evidence Mr. Webster sought to present predated the trial but was not discovered despite the defense’s diligence, his case was entitled to be heard under section 2241. The opinion can be read here.
On November 10, 2014, the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued its annual list of "Top Management and Performance Challenges Facing the Department of Justice." A number of points in the report may be of interest to capital 2255 teams, including issues pertaining to conditions in BOP facilities, law enforcement accountability, and recommended reforms of DOJ's attorney misconduct review process. The full report can be read here.
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