OCTOBER TERM, 1995
on application to vacate stay of execution
No. A-828. Decided April 9, 1996
A Federal District Court denied respondent Williams' third habeas corpus petition, finding all of his claims to be abusive, successive, or procedurally defaulted. The Eighth Circuit subsequently entered a summary order staying Williams' pending execution, giving no explanation for its conclusion that such a stay was appropriate.
Held: The Eighth Circuit abused its discretion by entering a stay on this record. Entry of a stay on a second or third habeas petition is particularly egregious absent substantial grounds for relief. Delo v. Blair, 509 U. S. 823. No such grounds can be discerned here. The Magistrate's report adopted by the District Court meticulously addresses and rejects each of Williams' claims. To the extent that the Eighth Circuit discerned substantial grounds for relief, it failed to reveal them in its summary order. Entry of a stay without explanation is disfavored, cf. Netherland v. Tuggle, 515 U. S. 951 (per curiam), for this Court loses the benefit of the court of appeals' views and must resort to other portions of the record in evaluating whether to vacate the stay.
Doyle J. Williams is scheduled to be executed by the State of Missouri on April 10, 1996. On January 11, 1996, a Federal District Court denied Williams' third federal habeas corpus petition, finding all of Williams' claims to be abusive, successive, or procedurally defaulted. On March 8, 1996, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit entered a summary order staying Williams' execution. The Court of Appeals scheduled oral argument for May 13, 1996, and resolved that the stay would remain in effect pending submission of the case and that court's further order. The summary order gives no explanation for the Court of Appeals' conclusion that oral argument is necessary or that entry of a stay was appropriate. The Court of Appeals
345Page: Index 1 2 3 Next
Last modified: October 4, 2007