Rickey's Case Updates
For the murders of Tyus Sneed and Keenan Hubert.
By an all-white grand jury
Unlawful Post-Indictment grand jury hearings began in January 2012 (continued through September 2012)
Voir dire (juror selection) began on July 20, 2012 and ended on August 29, 2012
Found guilty on November 2, 2012, and was sentenced on November 7, 2012
Direct Appeal filed (Cummings v. State, No. AP-76,923)
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denies Direct Appeal (Cummings V.State, No.AP-76,923, 2014 WL)
Writ of Habeas Corpus filed (Ex Parte Rickey Cummings, No. WR-84,324-001)
The Criminal Court of Appeals denies Habeas Corpus (Ex Parte Cummings, No WR-84,324-01, 2018 WL 151664, at *4 (Tex. Crim.App. March 28, 2018)
Initial Federal Habeas Corpus filed (cause No. 6:18-CV-00125-ADA)
Federal Judge grants motion to stay and abate Federal Proceedings so Rickey can return to State Court and raise new claims. (cause No. 6:18-CV-00125-ADA document 57)
First Subsequent Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus, filed in State Court
The C.C.A. dismissed application (Ex Parte Cummings, No. WR-84,324-04, 2021 WL 1206447 (Tex. Crim. App. March 31, 2021)
Amended Federal Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed (Cause no. 6:18-CV-00125-ADA)
The Appeals Process in Texas
The basic operation of the capital punishment system in Texas begins with the crime, and then includes a trial, incarceration, an appeals process and some final appeals. Below details the process of appeals in the state of Texas.
Trial and Direct Appeal
After the first trial, a lawyer, usually one of the trial lawyers is appointed to handle the Direct Appeal. This appeal is filed in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin, Texas. In this proceeding, the defendant cannot introduce any new evidence. Instead he/she may only appeal errors that appear in the written transcript or the trial, such as erroneous rulings on the admission of evidence, prejudicial comments by the prosecutor and erroneous jury instructions.
If the Court of Criminal Appeals denies relief, the defendant can ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. Review at this level is very rare because the Court receives 7000 requests to be heard each year, but only hear about 100 cases per year. (Lawyers often times by-pass this court)
State Habeas Corpus Proceedings
After the trial, at the same time as the Direct Appeal is being prepared, the trial court will appoint another layer to file a different appeal; an Application for writ of habeas Corpus. This appeal is just the opposite of the Direct Appeal: the claims are based on new evidence that is not contained in the record. The court will NOT hear claims that could have been raised on Direct Appeal. This is the point in the appeal process when one can bring in new evidence to support claims of Innocence, Prosecutorial Misconduct or Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, etc. the trial court issues a recommendation to the court of Criminal Appeals.
The Court or Criminal Appeals generally adopts the trial courts’ recommendations, but not all the time.
If the Court of Criminal Appeals denies habeas relief, the applicant can ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case review at this stage is even less likely than a review by the Supreme Court on Direct Appeal because the Court prefers the lower courts hear the issues initially in Federal Habeas proceedings.
Federal Habeas Corpus Proceedings
If unsuccessful in State Court, a person can petition the federal Courts for relief. The only claims that may be raised in the Federal proceedings are those that were raised in the State court (in Direct Appeal and State Habeas claims).
There are very strict time limits that governs the filing of Federal habeas Petitions, failure to file in time, in most cases, waives any further appeals.
If the Federal District Court denies relief, the case, is appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, in New Orleans Louisiana. (Depending on what State you were convicted determines which Circuit Court your appeal is directed to)
If the Fifth Circuit Court denies relief, the petitioner may seek review in the Supreme Court. Again, it is very rare that the Supreme Court will hear the case.