The Supreme Court ruling in Parker v. Matthews is available in Adobe .pdf format.
SCOTUSblog's "Tuesday Roundup," by Joshua Matz contains:
In a summary opinion in Parker v. Matthews, the Court held that the decision of Sixth Circuit, which set aside two twenty-nine-year-old murder convictions, is a textbook example of what the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) proscribes: “using federal habeas corpus review as a vehicle to second-guess the reasonable decisions of state courts.” The Associated Press, Sentencing Law and Policy Blog, and the ABA Journal have coverage of the opinion. At Balkinization, Mark Tushnet criticizes the Court’s “analysis of the prosecutor’s rhetoric” as “overly simple,” while Jonathan Adler of the Volokh Conspiracy and Ed Whelan of National Review Online both note that the Court has reversed the Sixth Circuit in habeas cases several times in the past few years.
The ABA Journal report is, "Supreme Court Hits 6th Circuit for Overturning Double Murder Conviction on ‘Flimsiest of Rationales’," by Debra Cassens Weiss.
The U.S. Supreme Court is calling out the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for overturning a 29-year-old double murder conviction based in part on a prosecutor’s closing argument.
The 6th Circuit offered “the flimsiest of rationales” for overturning the conviction of David Eugene Matthews, the U.S. Supreme Court said in a per curiam opinion (PDF). The appeals court’s decision “is a textbook example of what the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) proscribes: ‘using federal habeas corpus review as a vehicle to second-guess the reasonable decisions of state courts,' ” the Supreme Court said.
Matthews had claimed he was suffering from an extreme emotional disturbance when he killed his estranged wife and mother-in-law at their home, requiring a reduction in the charge against him to manslaughter. The 6th Circuit ruled the burden of proof had wrongly been shifted to Matthews on the issue, and prosecutors had failed to prove Matthews did not have such a disturbance. But the jury instructions were adequate, the Supreme Court said, and there was ample evidence showing Matthews did not have such a disturbance. "It is abundantly clear that the Kentucky Supreme Court’s rejection of Matthews’ sufficiency claim is controlling," the Supreme Court said.
Related posts are in the AEDPA index.