In Conner v. Hall, No. 10-10928 (July 7, 2011), the Court reversed the denial of habeas relief to a Georgia inmate sentenced to death for a 1982 murder.
The district court had rejected Conner’s challenge to his execution on the grounds of mental retardation because it found that Conner had procedurally defaulted this claim in the Georgia state courts. The Court noted that the procedural default bar only applies to State procedural rules that were consistently applied. The Court found that Georgia did not consistently apply a procedural bar to persons who claimed they were mentally retarded and should not be executed. The Court therefore remanded the case to the district court.