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Orlando Hall’s Last-Minute Appeal To Avoid Death Penalty Fails In Federal Court, Has 48 Hours To Live

INDIANAPOLIS — Convicted killer-rapist Orlando Hall’s last-minute appeal to avoid the death penalty failed on Friday.

Hall, 49, of Pine Bluff, Arkansas was sentenced to die 25 years ago after his conviction in the brutal 1994 kidnapping, rape and murder of 16-year-old Lisa Rene of St. Croix.

A federal judge in Indiana denied a habeas petition filed on behalf of Hall, who is scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute. Defense attorneys immediately appealed, seeking a stay of execution.

In September, U.S. Attorney William P. Barr directed the U.S. Department of Justice under his control to execute Hall on November 19.

Orlando Hall outside federal courtroom in Indianapolis

Southern District of Indiana Judge James Patrick Hanlon issued an order Friday dismissing Hall’s habeas petition. Hanlon concluded that the issues of ineffective assistance of counsel that Hall attempted to raise in his habeas petition had been previously adjudicated at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Further, “the Court’s conclusion that Mr. Hall cannot proceed through § 2255(e) makes it unnecessary for the Court to resolve other issues presented,” Hanlon wrote.

“The Court need not — indeed, cannot — address many of the parties’ other arguments because Mr. Hall has not shown a “structural problem” with § 2255 that prevented him from raising the issue he seeks to raise now in his § 2241 habeas corpus petition.

“Moreover, the Court need not decide whether, as the respondent argues, the ‘law of the case’ doctrine requires this Court to accept the Fifth Circuit’s conclusion that Mr. Hall’s kidnapping offense is a crime of violence under § 924(c)(3)(A). Because the structure of § 2255 allowed Mr. Hall an opportunity to litigate his § 924(c) claim, and because the Fifth Circuit denied leave to file a successive § 2255 motion based on its conclusion that the claim has no merit, Mr. Hall cannot now present the claim in a § 2241 habeas corpus petition,” Hanlon wrote in dismissing the petition.

The case in the Southern District of Indiana is Orlando Cordia Hall v. Charles Daniels, 2:17-cv-176. Hall’s attorneys on Friday also filed an emergency motion for a stay of execution with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The federal appellate court in Chicago ordered the government’s reply brief to be filed by noon Tuesday. The case at the 7th Circuit is Orlando Cordia Hall v. T.J. Watson, 20-3216.

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