Seabolt v. NorrisAnnotate this Case
In 1995, Barry Norris was found shot to death in his home. Petitioner Melissa Norris, who was 15 years old at the time, confessed to her brother and to police that, after an argument with her father, she took a pistol and shot him in the back of the head at close range. Following the grant of Melissa Norris’ petition for a writ of habeas corpus, Kathy Seabolt, in her capacity as warden, appealed, contending that the habeas court erred in finding appellate counsel was ineffective for: (1) failing to allege error from the trial court’s refusal to charge on accident; (2) failing to argue on appeal that the trial court erred by not charging involuntary manslaughter as a lesser included offense of malice murder; (3) failing to argue ineffective assistance of trial counsel on appeal based on trial counsel’s lack of objection to questions and closing argument that allegedly commented on Norris’ right to remain silent; and (4) failing to argue on appeal that the trial court erred by improperly limiting trial counsel’s closing argument to one hour. After review of the matter, the Supreme Court concluded the habeas court properly granted relief to Norris on the second ground mentioned above, but erred with respect to various other aspects of its ruling.