LANSING, Mich. — The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has ruled the Michigan Court of Appeals acted appropriately in response to a 2007 Kalamazoo murder.
Ervine Davenport was found guilty in the murder of Annette White back in 2007.
Davenport was taken to trial while in shackles without a reason provided by the court, according to the Michigan attorney general’s office. The state argued it was a harmless constitutional error considering the overwhelming evidence in the case.
We’re told the state court agreed that the error was harmless. Davenport later filed for a habeas corpus petition in federal court, who then upheld the state’s findings.
Following this, a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals panel voiced their disagreement in September 2020 and reversed the federal court’s denial.
The state reportedly challenged the Sixth Circuit Court, claiming the wrong test was applied in defiance of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). SCOTUS accepted the challenge.
In October, Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud appeared before SCOTUS, the first Arab-American Muslim woman to do so. Hammoud explained, on the state of Michigan’s behalf, that a judge reviewing habeas corpus should give due respect to the state’s determination before giving relief as required by Congress under AEDPA, arguing the Sixth Circuit Court did not do this.
SCOTUS agreed on Thursday.
“While this opinion from SCOTUS is a personal and professional achievement of the highest sort for me, it is – more importantly – the proper decision under the law,” says Hammoud. “Today’s Supreme Court decision ensures that state court decisions that determine an error at trial was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt are given the deference and respect they are due – not just in Michigan, but across the country.”
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel appointed Hammoud as the state’s twelfth solicitor general back in 2019.
“Solicitor General Hammoud remains a critical and effective advocate for our state’s residents and I’m so proud of this victory before SCOTUS,” says Nessel. “Not only does this decision uphold the valid conviction of a murderer and achieve justice for his victims, it also assures that in future cases, our courts’ decisions will be afforded the respect they are entitled to under the law.”