Ward v. Stephens, No. 14-70015 (5th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Petitioner, convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death, seeks a certificate of appealability (COA) under 28 U.S.C. 2253(c)(2). Petitioner, afflicted with mental illness, shot and killed a code enforcement officer in an incident involving a code citation.The court concluded that plaintiff exhausted his ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC) claim; denied petitioner's application for a COA on his IAC claim because reasonable jurists could not debate the district court's decision under Strickland v. Washington; held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying petitioner's funding application under 18 U.S.C. 3599; denied petitioner's application for a COA on his Sixth Amendment claim were reasonable jurists could not debate whether his Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury was violated when a person believed to be associated with the prosecution ate lunch with the jury; and denied petitioner's application for a COA on the Eighth Amendment issue where reasonable jurists could not debate whether his death sentence violates the Eighth Amendment.