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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Bradshaw v. Richey: Transferred intent in Ohio

In Bradshaw v. Richey, 2005 WL 3144332 (Nov. 28, 2005), the Supreme Court reversed a grant of habeas relief to an Ohio inmate convicted of aggravated murder and sentenced to death. Richey had set fire to an apartment to kill his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend; they escaped unharmed by a two-year old daughter died in the fire. Richey was convicted on a theory of “transferred intent.” Federal habeas relief was granted on the ground that Ohio law does not recognize a transferred intent theory.

Reversing, the Supreme Court held that Ohio law does recognize a transferred intent theory in murder cases. The Sixth Circuit erred in applying the rule that limits transferred intent liability for arson, not murder.

The Court also found that the habeas petitioner had waived his ineffective assistance of counsel claim, but remanded the case to the Sixth Circuit for a determination whether the State had itself waived its waiver objection.