AUL 202 – Comparative Criminal Law (Dr. Jones, fall 2009)
Unit 5: Murder, the case of Kenneth Eugene Foster
Foster v. Dretke
, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13862
… CASE SUMMARY
PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Petitioner, [a] state inmate, filed this federal
action pursuant to 28 U.S.C.S. § 2254, collaterally attacking his state-court conviction for
capital murder and sentence of death.
OVERVIEW: [petitioner] was driving a car in which he and [co-conspirators] were riding
during several robberies, [petitioner] shared in the proceeds of the robberies, [he] stopped the
car [allowing a] shooter to exit the car and attempt [a] robbery [that lead to a murder], [the
petitioner] waited for the shooter to return to the car … and encouraged the shooter to hide
the gun … when police stopped the car.
… the federal
court held that [a] jury could have reasonably inferred that [petitioner]
anticipated deadly force would be used by his co-conspirators during the course of [the]
[However] the death sentence was imposed by the [state-trial] court without the
jury’s determination on [issues] of fact.
Therefore, the inmate’s death sentence was not
supported by the necessary factual findings mandated by [U.S. Supreme Court].
The instant court found that the inmate was entitled to a new sentencing
hearing but [no] further [relief] .
The standard for testing the sufficiency of evidence in a federal habeas review of a
state court conviction is whether, after viewing the evidence in the
light most favorable to the
, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime
beyond a reasonable doubt.
The evidence need not exclude every reasonable hypothesis of
innocence or be completely inconsistent with every conclusion except guilt so long as a
reasonable trier of fact could find that the evidence established guilt beyond a reasonable
… to determine whether the evidence is sufficient to support a state criminal
court must look to state law for the substantive elements
of the relevant
Either direct or circumstantial evidence can contribute to the sufficiency of
the evidence underlying the conviction.
Claims of “actual innocence” based on newly discovered evidence do not constitute
an independent ground for granting federal
Kenneth Eugene Foster
, JR., TDCJ No. 999232,
Petitioner, v. Douglas Dretke
, Director, Texas Department of
Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division,
CIVIL NO. SA-02-CA-301-RF.
U.S. Dist. Ct.
for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Div., 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13862 (March 3, 2005).