Take 5

Federal Appeals Court Affirms Denial of Habeas Relief for Anthony Bernard Juniper

In a recent decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the denial of habeas relief for Anthony Bernard Juniper, who was convicted for multiple murders in 2004. The case has been marked by a long and winding path of legal proceedings, largely due to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s refusal to disclose potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense.

Juniper’s case centered around the suppression of evidence and the presentation of false or misleading testimony, which he argued were cumulatively material under Brady v. Maryland and Napue v. Illinois, and thus entitled him to habeas relief. However, the district court rejected Juniper’s contention, a decision now affirmed by the appeals court.

The murders, which took place in Norfolk, Virginia, resulted in the deaths of Keshia Stephens, her younger brother Rueben Harrison, III, and two of her daughters. Juniper, who was Keshia’s “on-again, off-again” boyfriend, was tried for the murders in January 2005 and was sentenced to death. However, his sentence was commuted to life without parole in 2021 after Virginia abolished the death penalty.

The appeals court’s decision marks the culmination of nearly two decades of post-conviction proceedings. The court concluded that Juniper could not show that the evidence he cited as inappropriately suppressed or the testimony he cited as inappropriately offered were cumulatively material. Therefore, the court affirmed the denial of habeas relief for Juniper.

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