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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In 1992, a jury convicted Robert James Campbell of the murder of Alexandra Rendon in the course of a kidnapping or aggravated sexual assault, and it sentenced him to death. The evidence at trial showed that Campbell and Leroy Lewis abducted Rendon at a gas station. Both men raped her, and Campbell killed her. Campbell made his third state application for a writ of habeas corpus seeking relief from his capital murder conviction and sentence of death. Campbell presented three allegations in this application. Specifically, he asserted that: 1. his conviction and sentence are unconstitutional, because the state withheld evidence favorable to him in violation of his constitutional right to due process; 2. he was deprived of a fundamentally fair trial because of the admission of inherently unreliable DNA evidence; and 3. newly discovered evidence of his innocence independently warrants habeas relief. Campbell’s habeas application pointed to new documentation of the past unreliability of evidence processed at the Houston Police Department Crime Lab and Property Room. Campbell sought habeas relief based on two new facts: 1. the 2006 independent investigator reports on the HPD Crime Lab; and 2. the 2005 discovery among uncatalogued evidence in the HPD property room of a cigarette butt that had been collected in the investigation of the Rendon murder but never analyzed by a forensic lab. HOLDING:Denied. Texas law, the Court of Criminal Appeals stated, prohibits successive writs challenging the same conviction except in specifically defined circumstances. Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 11.071, �5(a)(1), an applicant may only obtain a subsequent writ of habeas corpus if: 1. the factual or legal basis for an applicant’s current claims were unavailable as to all of his previous applications; and 2. the specific facts alleged, if established, constitute a constitutional violation that would likely require relief from either the conviction or sentence. To meet the first prong of �5(a)(1), Campbell argued that the 2006 reports on the HPD Crime Lab and the 2005 discovery of the cigarette butt were not available when he filed his previous applications. Examining this evidence and finding it surfaced after Campbell’s previous two habeas applications, the CCA held that Campbell “facially surmounted the”unavailability’ hurdle of Section 5(a)(1).” The CCA, however, found that Campbell failed to meet the second prong of �5(a)(1). In other words, Campbell failed to establish a federal constitutional violation sufficiently serious as to likely require relief from his conviction or sentence. Campbell’s factual claims, the CCA stated, “are premised on a finding that the DNA evidence at applicant’s trial painted”an unfair picture’ for the jury.” In fact, the CCA found that post-trial DNA testing, using scientifically improved techniques, showed that the probability of an unrelated person selected at random who could be a contributor to the specimen taken from Rendon was 1 in 620,000 of African-American males. Under these circumstances, the CCA found that Campbell did not state even a potential violation of the United States Constitution. OPINION:Cochran, J., delivered the opinion of a unanimous court.

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