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Effective Criminal Defense

Greenway v. Ryan, No. 14-15309 [May 11, 2017]

Greenway v. Ryan

The district court granted a COA on two claims of ineffectiveness relating to trial counsel’s alleged failure to present defenses at petitioner’s capital murder trial. First, he claimed that trial counsel “failed adequately to present an overall defense theory.” Because the only viable defense was presented at trial this claim did not show ineffectiveness. Second, he claimed that “trial counsel should have explored the possibility of a mental incapacity defense of impulsivity, as recognized in Arizona, in order to negate premeditation.” The Court concluded that “the suggested defense would have been counterproductive, as it would have placed Greenway as a principal in the murders, and would likely not have overcome the strong evidence of premeditation in any event [the defense was that he was only guilty of selling stolen property taken from the victims].” The Court also considered a claim that trial counsel was ineffective during voir dire in failing to discover that a juror had been the victim of a violent crime that would have disqualified that juror and rejected it as without merit. Finding that counsel need not be “clairvoyant” and had no reason to suspect the juror was withholding information.The Court also denied a COA on all Greenway’s other claims.

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