Editor's Note :

Editor's Note :

The new SCOTUSblog iOS app is now available in the App Store for free download.

McWilliams v. Dunn

Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term
16-5294 11th Cir. Apr 24, 2017
Tr.Aud.
Jun 19, 2017 5-4 Breyer OT 2016

Holding: The Alabama courts' determination that James McWilliams received all the assistance to which Ake v. Oklahoma entitled him -- when certain threshold criteria are met, access to a state-provided mental health expert who is sufficiently available to the defense and independent from the prosecution to effectively "conduct an appropriate examination and assist in evaluation, preparation, and presentation of the defense" -- was contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law; and (2) the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit should determine on remand whether the Alabama courts' error had the "substantial and injurious effect or influence" required to warrant a grant of habeas relief under Davis v. Ayala, specifically considering whether access to the type of meaningful assistance in evaluating, preparing, and presenting the defense that Ake requires could have made a difference.

Judgment: Reversed and remanded, 5-4, in an opinion by Justice Breyer on June 19, 2017. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, in which Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas and Gorsuch joined.

SCOTUSblog Coverage

DateProceedings and Orders
Mar 16 2016Application (15A978) to extend the time to file a petition for a writ of certiorari from May 16, 2016 to July 15, 2016, submitted to Justice Thomas.
Mar 24 2016Application (15A978) granted by Justice Thomas extending the time to file until July 15, 2016.
Jul 15 2016Petition for a writ of certiorari and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis filed. (Response due August 19, 2016)
Aug 09 2016Order extending time to file response to petition to and including September 19, 2016.
Aug 19 2016Brief amicus curiae of The Constitution Project filed.
Sep 14 2016Order further extending time to file response to petition to and including October 19, 2016.
Oct 17 2016Brief of respondents Jefferson S. Dunn, Commissioner, Alabama Department of Corrections, et al. in opposition filed.
Oct 28 2016Reply of petitioner James E. McWilliams filed.
Nov 03 2016DISTRIBUTED for Conference of November 22, 2016.
Nov 17 2016Record Requested.
Nov 22 2016Record received from the U.S.C.A. 11th Circuit. (1-Box)
Dec 06 2016Record received from the U.S.D.C. for the Northern District of Alabama (4 boxes).
Dec 08 2016DISTRIBUTED for Conference of January 6, 2017.
Jan 09 2017DISTRIBUTED for Conference of January 13, 2017.
Jan 13 2017Motion to proceed in forma pauperis and petition for a writ of certiorari GRANTED limited to Question 1 presented by the petition.
Jan 17 2017Consent to the filing of amicus curiae briefs in support of either party or of neither party from counsel for the respondents.
Jan 27 2017Motion to appoint counsel filed by petitioner James E. McWilliams.
Feb 10 2017Consent to the filing of amicus curiae briefs in support of either party or of neither party received from counsel for the petitioner.
Feb 15 2017DISTRIBUTED for Conference of March 3, 2017.
Feb 17 2017SET FOR ARGUMENT ON Monday, April 24, 2017
Feb 27 2017Joint appendix filed.
Feb 27 2017Brief of petitioner James E. McWilliams filed.
Mar 06 2017Motion to appoint counsel filed by petitioner GRANTED, and Stephen B. Bright, Esquire, of Atlanta, Georgia, is appointed to serve as counsel for the petitioner in this case.
Mar 06 2017Brief amici curiae of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, et al. filed.
Mar 06 2017Brief amici curiae of American Psychiatric Association, et al. filed.
Mar 22 2017CIRCULATED.
Mar 29 2017Brief of respondents Jefferson S. Dunn, Commissioner, Alabama Department of Corrections, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Apr 17 2017Reply of petitioner James E. McWilliams filed. (Distributed)
Apr 24 2017Argued. For petitioner: Stephen B. Bright, Atlanta, Ga. (Appointed by this Court.) For respondents: Andrew L. Brasher, Solicitor General, Montgomery, Ala.
Jun 19 2017Judgment REVERSED and case REMANDED. Breyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan, JJ., joined. Alito, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Roberts, C. J., and Thomas and Gorsuch, JJ., joined.
Jul 07 2017Record returned to the U.S.C.A. 11th Circuit (1 Box).
Jul 07 2017Record returned to the U.S.D.C. for the Northern District of Alabama (4 boxes).
Jul 21 2017JUDGMENT ISSUED.
 
Share:
Term Snapshot
Awards