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Prisoner Wins SOS Petition

Thomas Creech v. Tim Richardson Docket: 10-99015, Opinion Date: July 20, 2022.While serving two life sentences for multiple convictions for first-degree murder, Petitioner beat a fellow inmate to death. After pleading guilty, he was sentenced to death in Idaho state court. Petitioner obtained federal habeas relief with respect to his sentence and was resentenced to death in 1995. In a second petition, Petitioner thereafter unsuccessfully sought federal habeas relief in the district court. The district court granted certificates of appealability (COAs) as to two issues. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Petitioner’s second amended habeas corpus petition challenging his death sentence. The court denied a COA as to Petitioner’s claims (1) that the district court erred in summarily denying his motion for reconsideration of its denial of his second habeas petition, (2) that the Idaho Supreme Court violated the Due Process Clause by refusing to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea prior to his first resentencing, and (3) that the duration of Petitioner’s confinement for his murder constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The court granted a COA as to Petitioner’s argument under Magwood v. Patterson, 561 U.S. 320 (2010), that claims in his second federal habeas petition attacking his guilty plea are not “second or successive” under 28 U.S.C. Section 2244(b) and should be decided on the merits. The court concluded that because Petitioner’s original sentence was vacated and a new sentence was imposed, the claims are not barred as second or successive.

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