OBIE D. WEATHERS, III, Petitioner - Appellant
LORIE DAVIS, DIRECTOR, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE, CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS DIVISION, Respondent - Appellee
Appeals from the United States District Court for the Western
District of Texas
REMAND FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
KING, JONES, and HAYNES, Circuit Judges.
H. JONES, CIRCUIT JUDGE
case was remanded from the Supreme Court of the United States
for reconsideration in light of its decision in Moore v.
Texas, 137 S.Ct. 1039 (2017). There, on direct appeal,
the Supreme Court held that the Briseño
factors "may not be used . . . to restrict qualification
of an individual as intellectually disabled."
Moore, 137 S.Ct. at 1044; see Ex parte
Briseño, 135 S.W.3d 1, 3 (Tex. Crim. App. 2004),
abrogated by Moore v. Texas, 137 S.Ct. 1039 (2017).
Because applying Moore retroactively to this case
contradicts the Court's recent decision in Shoop v.
Hill, ___ S.Ct. ___ (Jan. 7, 2019), we affirm
the district's court's judgment
Weathers III was convicted of the 2000 capital murder of Ted
Church and was sentenced to death for that crime. His
conviction and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal,
Weathers v. State, 2003 WL 22410067 (Tex. Crim. App.
Oct. 22, 2003). Then followed two rounds of state habeas
review, the last of which concerned his Atkins claim
and was resolved against him in 2014. In Weathers v.
Davis, 659 Fed.Appx. 778 (5th Cir. 2016), cert.
granted, judgment vacated, 138 S.Ct. 315
(2018), this court denied a COA to appeal the federal
district court's rejection of habeas relief on his
sought certiorari from the Supreme Court, urging for the
first time that Texas's Briseño factors
used as an adjunct to clinical findings of mental retardation
were unconstitutional. In light of Moore, the
Supreme Court granted his petition and remanded the case to
this court for further consideration. We granted a COA and
obtained additional briefing from both parties to consider
whether the state courts' rejection of Weathers's
Atkins claim was reasonable in light of
2016, this court summarized the facts of this case:
After a crime spree involving a string of burglaries, theft,
one murder, and one sexual assault of an elderly man over the
course of just a few months, one evening in February, 2000,
Weathers entered Pierce's Ice House, a tavern in San
Antonio, Texas, wielding a handgun and concealing his face
with a pillowcase with eyeholes cut out. Weathers informed
the patrons that he intended to rob the ice house, but he
told the three black men present to remain calm because he
only wanted to rob the white individuals. Weathers robbed the
white patrons, then ordered a waitress at gun point to empty
the cash register. While the waitress was carrying the till
to Weathers, she stumbled and Weathers pointed his gun at her
head. At this time, one of the bar patrons, Ted Church . . .
swung at and grabbed Weathers. In the ensuing struggle,
Weathers shot Church twice in the head and once in the
abdomen. Weathers fled with over two-hundred dollars, but he
was apprehended eleven days later and confessed to this and
other crimes. Church was rushed to the hospital and underwent
multiple surgeries, but he died weeks later from irreparable
damages to his pancreas caused by the gunshot wound.
Weathers, 659 Fed.Appx. at 779-80.
court's 2016 opinion discusses at length Weathers's
various appeals and concluded that reasonable jurists could
not debate the district court's denial of his
Atkins-claim. That opinion also examines the facts
underlying his contention that the state court
inappropriately credited the State's medical expert while
discrediting Weathers's expert. This court also noted
"the dearth of evidence concerning the third prong of
Briseño (adopting the AAMR), whether any
intellectual disability and adaptive deficits were evident
before age 18." Weathers, 659 Fed.Appx. at
granted a COA on remand from the Supreme Court, received
further briefing, and reviewed the district court's
findings of fact for clear error and its conclusions of law
de novo. Martinez v. Johnson,255 F.3d 229, 237 (5th
Cir. 2001). To obtain federal habeas relief from state
custody, AEDPA requires the petitioner to demonstrate that
the state court's adjudication of the claim
"resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or
involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established
Federal law," 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1), or
"resulted in a decision that was based on an
unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the
evidence presented in the State court proceeding,"
id. § ...