Gumm v. Mitchell, No. 11-3363 (6th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Gumm is mentally retarded, with an IQ of approximately 70. He was convicted of the kidnapping, attempted rape, and murder of a 10-year-old and was sentenced to death. His convictions and sentences were affirmed on direct appeal, and his post-conviction petition was found to lack merit by the Ohio state courts. After he sought federal habeas corpus, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002) that persons who are mentally retarded cannot be executed. In a post-Atkins petition, Ohio courts adjudicated Gumm mentally retarded and reduced his sentence to 30 years to life in prison, but rejected non-Atkins claims. On federal habeas review, the court granted a conditional writ of habeas corpus on claims that the government failed to disclose exculpatory evidence as required by Brady v. Maryland; that Gumm received an unfair trial due to improper admission of incendiary prior bad acts evidence; that admission of a psychiatric report violated the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause; and that the prosecutor’s elicitation of inflammatory testimony and admission of psychiatric reports constituted prosecutorial misconduct. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the grant of the conditional writ of habeas corpus based on Gumm’s Brady and prosecutorial misconduct claims.