Cases & Deals

Habeas corpus case involving claim of actual innocence scores victory before the 6th Circuit

Client(s) McDonald, Dewitt Jr.

Jones Day New York won a significant victory before the Sixth Circuit in a habeas case involving a claim of actual innocence. The Firm was appointed to represent Dewitt McDonald, Jr., in moving the Sixth Circuit for an order authorizing Mr. McDonald to file a second or successive habeas petition in a United States district court. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA") requires such a petitioner to obtain authorization from the appropriate court of appeals before filing a second or successive petition in the district court.

In a published opinion, the Sixth Circuit held that Mr. McDonald had made the requisite prima facie showing of actual innocence under AEDPA. In so ruling, the court adopted Jones Day's argument that, at the authorization stage, the court of appeals may not consider whether the underlying petition would be deemed timely under AEDPA's statute of limitations. The Sixth Circuit became the first court of appeals to expressly address and decide that issue.

In re McDonald, No. 06-4120 (6th Cir.)