United States Fourth Circuit

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Lee v. Clarke, 13-7914

District court's order granting the motion of respondent Director of the Virginia Department of Corrections to dismiss a petition for a writ of habeas corpus is reversed and remanded with instructions to issue the writ unless the Commonwealth of Virginia endeavors to prosecute petitioner in a new trial within ninety days, where: 1) petitioner's trial counsel had failed to request a jury instruction defining heat of passion; and 2) the state habeas court's decision was based on an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law set forth in Strickland v. Washington, in that the court failed to appreciate the prejudice inherent in the absence of a jury instruction defining heat of passion given that the undisputed facts demonstrate that the instruction was crucial to petitioner's defense.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 03/20/2015
  • Published 03/20/2015

Judges

  • Gregory

Court

  • United States Fourth Circuit

Counsel