Schlup v. Delo

513 U.S. 298 (1995)

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Schlup v. Delo

United States Supreme Court
513 U.S. 298 (1995)

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Facts

Lloyd Schlup, Jr. (defendant) was a state prisoner who had been convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Schlup unsuccessfully challenged his conviction in state postconviction proceedings and in a federal habeas corpus petition. Schlup then filed a second federal habeas corpus petition, asserting that he had received ineffective assistance of counsel and that the prosecution had withheld exculpatory evidence. Because Schlup had not brought those claims in his first habeas petition, he faced a procedural bar to the district court considering the claims’ merits. To overcome that procedural bar, Schlup asserted that he was actually innocent and that his conviction was a fundamental miscarriage of justice. The district court dismissed Schlup’s petition after finding that Schlup had not satisfied the requirements of Sawyer v. Whitley, 505 U.S. 333 (1992), under which petitioners asserting actual innocence had to show clear and convincing evidence that, but for a constitutional error, no reasonable jury would have found the petitioner guilty. Schlup asked the federal appellate court for a stay of execution pending the resolution of his appeal, arguing that Sawyer did not apply and that overcoming the procedural bar required only a colorable showing of factual innocence. The appellate court denied the stay, holding that Sawyer set the governing standard and that Schlup had failed to meet Sawyer’s requirements. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider which standard applied to claims like Schlup’s.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)

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