Marshall v. Commissioner, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

Marshall was sentenced to death in Pennsylvania in 1984 and has been pursuing a federal habeas petition since 2003. Marshall initially filed his petition through the Federal Community Defender; years later, on Marshall’s motion, the district court appointed new attorneys to represent Marshall. Marshall soon became dissatisfied with them because they would not withdraw the habeas petition filed by the Community Defender and assert different claims. Marshall eventually filed pro se a document, requesting an order: removing his new counsel; striking the habeas petition and other documents filed by the Community Defender; allowing the filing of a new habeas petition “nunc pro tunc”; and remanding for a new hearing “nunc pro tunc” in state court. In 2015, the court dismissed Marshall’s last three requests without prejudice. Counsel sought a determination of Marshall’s mental competence. The court held three hearings before Marshall consented to a psychiatric evaluation, which concluded that Marshall is not competent to assist his counsel or to proceed pro se. Eight days after a fourth hearing, before the court had announced any decision, Marshall filed a pro se notice of appeal. The district court subsequently found Marshall mentally incompetent and denied his request for removal of counsel. Marshall’s 30-day deadline to appeal that ruling expired without any filings. The Seventh Circuit dismissed. Marshall’s premature notice of appeal did not ripen when the district court issued its decision. View "Marshall v. Commissioner, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections" on Justia Law