Rainwater Law Group

Effective Criminal Defense

Medina v. Chappell, No. 09-99015 [March 26, 2015 & April 16, 2015]

(First part dealing with a pre-ADEPA case) Medina claimed that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to properly investigate Medina childhood, which meant that counsel lacked information that court have been used in mitigation at the penalty phase. The court found the investigation was adequate when compared to investigations in other cases, that counsel does not have a duty to conduct a perfect investigation and that Medina failed to establish prejudice as the comparatively weak additional mitigating evidence would not likely have altered the jury's verdict. In the alternative, he argued that counsel was ineffective for failing to obtain and present evidence of his mental and emotional impairments. The court found no deficient performance because counsel efforts were reasonable at the time. Finally, the court denied a stay due to Medina's incompetency finding no right to a stay in habeas proceedings and given the court's limited discretion where "there is no reasonable hope of a petitioner regaining competence in the foreseeable future. (Second part dealing with ADEPA) Finding the state court findings to reasonable or that the error was harmless.
[* The court ordered the parties to file briefs on what to do with the opinion in light of Medina's death after the opinion was written, but before it was filed. Stating "we direct the parties to file letter briefs within 14 days hereof addressing how best to proceed with the opinion in light of Mr. Medina’s death."] Update: [April 16, 2015] the Court issued the following order: "In light of Petitioner’s death, we vacate the opinion filed March 26, 2015 as moot, and remand to the district court with instructions to dismiss the habeas petitions."

Daire v. Lattimore, No. 12-55667 [March 19, 2015]

Daire v. Lattimore

Affirmed where the claim was that evidence of mental illness should have been presented at a three-strikes sentencing. The court affirmed because the states court's finding that counsel was not ineffective for failing to present the evidence and that there was no prejudice from counsel actions was not an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law.

UPDATE: August 28, 2015 - The Court issued an order that this case be reheard en banc.


Kyzar v. Ryan, No. 12-17564 [March 12, 2015]

Kyzar v. Ryan

A habeas petitioner raised a sufficiency of the evidence claim. (Jackson v. Virginia) An excellent discussion of fairly presenting a sufficiency of the evidence claim in state court. But found that the trial court's rejection of the claim was not an objectively unreasonable application of the Jackson standard.


Rudin v. Myles, No. 12-15362 [March 10, 2015]

Rudin v. Myles

After a petition for a rehearing and with the help of an amicus brief from the District of Nevada Federal Defender's Office, Judge Murguia change her voted, much to the chagrin of Judge O'Scannlain, and this time wrote the majority opinion reversing the district court (previously she wrote the majority opinion affirming the district court) holding that the petitioner was entitled to equitable tolling. The case has an excellent discussion of what constitutes "extraordinary circumstance" for equitable tolling particularly where state habeas counsel abandoned his client and where the petitioner was misled into believing the state court had excused her late filing. The concurring opinion, by District Court Judge Adelman, stressed that not to allow equitable tolling would have required the essentially pointless early filing of federal petitions by prisoners who reasonably believe that their claims are properly pending, unexhausted, in state courts.


Rainwater Law Group - Ninth Circuit Habeas Blog

Robert Rainwater will be posting on this page with summaries and news from Ninth Circuit Case on Habeas Corpus law

Please email items of interest or comments to Robert Rainwater.


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