Disclosure: Akin Gump and Howe & Russell represent the petitioner in this case.
Holding: A state prisoner can often petition a federal court for a writ of habeas corpus, challenging her state court conviction or sentence. But she generally may not file a second or successive application for habeas relief. In Magwood, the defendant prevailed on habeas and had his case sent back to the state courts for a new sentencing proceeding, After the state court imposed the same sentence again, he again sought federal habeas relief. This time, he raised a new argument that could have been in his initial application but was not. The Supreme Court held that when a state prisoner obtains federal habeas relief and is re-sentenced, a habeas application challenging the new judgment is not â€œsecond or successive, even if the prisoner could have challenged the original sentence on the same ground.
Judgment: Reversed and remanded, 5-4, in an opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas on June 24, 2010. Justice Kennedy dissented, joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Ginsburg and Alito.