Bey v. Superintendent Greene SCI

Counsel was ineffective in failing to object to jury instruction concerning eyewitness testimony, using the words “may not” rather than “need not.” Bey was convicted of murder, attempted murder, and possessing an instrument of crime, based on a nonfatal shooting and a fatal shooting that took place in 2001. Philadelphia Police Officer Taylor was in the parking lot during the shooting: his identification of Bey as the shooter was consistent and unequivocal. However, in statements to Bey’s then-defense counsel, the surviving victim said that his shooter was not Bey. Defense counsel requested a “Kloiber” jury instruction. In instructing the jury, the court changed a word, telling jurors that they “may not” receive an identification with caution rather than instructing them that they “need not” receive the identification with caution. Defense counsel did not object. In his unsuccessful petition for state post-conviction relief, Bey raised an ineffective assistance of counsel claim based on the Kloiber instruction, but failed to highlight the “may not” language. The federal district court held that, to the extent that Bey’s ineffective assistance claims were not procedurally defaulted, Bey could not show prejudice because “there was overwhelming evidence of guilt.” The Third Circuit reversed, based on the Kloiber claim, finding cause to excuse Bey’s procedural default. View "Bey v. Superintendent Greene SCI" on Justia Law