Habeas petition dismissed for man facing federal execution Thursday

A federal judge in Indianapolis has denied a habeas petition filed on behalf of a convicted killer scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute. Defense attorneys immediately appealed, seeking a stay of execution.

Orlando Cordia Hall was sentenced to death 25 years ago after he was convicted in the District Court for the Northern District of Texas for his role in the September 1994 kidnapping, rape and murder of 16-year-old Lisa Rene. The Department of Justice in September announced Hall would be executed Nov. 19.

Southern District of Indiana Judge James Patrick Hanlon issued an order Friday dismissing Hall’s habeas petition. Hanlon concluded that the issues of ineffective assistance of counsel that Hall attempted to raise in his habeas petition had been previously adjudicated at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Further, “the Court’s conclusion that Mr. Hall cannot proceed through § 2255(e) makes it unnecessary for the Court to resolve other issues presented,” Hanlon wrote.

“The Court need not — indeed, cannot — address many of the parties’ other arguments because Mr. Hall has not shown a “structural problem” with § 2255 that prevented him from raising the issue he seeks to raise now in his § 2241 habeas corpus petition.

“Moreover, the Court need not decide whether, as the respondent argues, the ‘law of the case’ doctrine requires this Court to accept the Fifth Circuit’s conclusion that Mr. Hall’s kidnapping offense is a crime of violence under § 924(c)(3)(A). Because the structure of § 2255 allowed Mr. Hall an opportunity to litigate his § 924(c) claim, and because the Fifth Circuit denied leave to file a successive § 2255 motion based on its conclusion that the claim has no merit, Mr. Hall cannot now present the claim in a § 2241 habeas corpus petition,” Hanlon wrote in dismissing the petition.

The case in the Southern District of Indiana is Orlando Cordia Hall v. Charles Daniels, 2:17-cv-176. Hall’s attorneys on Friday also filed an emergency motion for a stay of execution with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The federal appellate court in Chicago ordered the government’s reply brief to be filed by noon Tuesday. The case at the 7th Circuit is Orlando Cordia Hall v. T.J. Watson, 20-3216.

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