July 2, 2014 4th Circuit published opinion

Hurst v Joyner

Hurst challenged his death sentence in state and federal post conviction proceedings arguing that a juror’s conversations with her father and his giving her Bible verses about “eye for an eye” tainted his sentence. His challenge was denied without a hearing by both courts. The panel, with two judges also joining a separate congruence, reversed and remanded. It held that Hurst was entitled to a hearing as he had demonstrated a juror had extraneous contacts during deliberations and the Bible verses were about a matter pending before eh jury namely his sentencing. Thus, the case had to be remanded for a hearing. The concurrence noted this outcome was required by recent 4th Circuit precedent, but, further noted the precedent appeared to be inconsistent with AEDPA.

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