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Hall v. Beard

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

October 22, 2014

DARRICK U. HALL, Petitioner
v.
JEFFREY BEARD, Commissioner, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections; DAVID DiGUGLIELMO, Superintendent of the State Correctional Institution at Graterford; and FRANKLIN J. TENNIS, Superintendent of the State Correctional Institution at Rockview, Respondents

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CRISTI CHARPENTIER, ESQUIRE and JAMES J. MCHUGH, ESQUIRE, On behalf of Petitioner.

CHRISTOPHER D. CARUSONE, ESQUIRE and GERALD P. MORANO, ESQUIRE, On behalf of Respondents.

OPINION

Page 630

JAMES KNOLL GARDNER, United States District Judge.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

SUMMARY OF DECISION

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES

Petitioner's Contentions

Respondents' Contentions

STANDARD OF REVIEW

FACTS

DISCUSSION

Exhaustion of State Court Remedies

Procedural Default and the Relaxed Waiver Rule

Cause and Prejudice

Sentencing Phase Claims

Trial Counsel's Failure to Present Mitigation

Evidence

Pennsylvania Court Decisions

Legal Standard for Ineffective

Assistance of Counsel

Strickland Standard

Duty to Investigate Mitigating

Evidence

American Bar Association Guidelines

Mitigation Evidence Presented at Penalty

Phase

Mitigation Evidence Available at Time of

Penalty Phase

Trial Counsel's Deficient Performance

Prejudice

Simmons Instruction

Catch-All Mitigating Factor Instruction

Grave Risk Aggravating Factor

Trial Court Error

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Proportionality Review

Victim Impact Testimony

PCRA Appeal

Guilt Phase Claims

Sentencing Phase Claims

Guilt Phase Claims

Prosecutorial Misconduct

Exhaustion

Fifth Amendment Right Against

Self-Incrimination

Prejudicial and Inflammatory Statements in

Violation of Due Process

Failure to Present Exculpatory Statement of

Co-Defendant

Failure to Move In Limine to Redact Petitioner's

Confession

Sufficiency of the Evidence

Exhaustion

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Decision

Merits Analysis

Suppression of Post-Arrest Statements

Waiver of Miranda Rights

Trial Court Findings of Fact

Direct Appeal

Exhaustion

Merits Analysis

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Direct Appeal

Merits Analysis

Cumulative Effect of All Errors

CONCLUSION

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This matter is before the court on the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by petitioner Darrick U. Hall on February 17, 2006. Respondents are Jeffrey Beard, Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections; David Diguglielmo, Superintendent of the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, Pennsylvania; and Franklin J. Tennis, Superintendent of the State Correctional Institution at Rockview, Pennsylvania.

Respondents filed an answer on May 30, 2006.[1] Petitioner filed a memorandum of law on October 6, 2006.[2] Respondents filed a memorandum of law on December 6, 2006.[3] Finally, petitioner filed a reply brief on January 8, 2007.[4] Oral argument was conducted on the petition on May 17, 2007.

SUMMARY OF DECISION

For the following reasons, I conclude that petitioner is entitled to relief from his death sentence because trial counsel was ineffective in failing to investigate and present significant mitigating evidence at the penalty phase of petitioner's trial. I further conclude that petitioner is not entitled to relief from his conviction.

Specifically, petitioner is entitled to a new sentencing hearing based upon claim one[5] because trial counsel's investigation and presentation of mitigating evidence at the penalty phase of petitioner's trial fell below an objective standard of reasonableness, and because ...


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