Rainwater Law Group

Effective Criminal Defense

Smith v. Ryan, No. 14-99008 [May 26, 2016]

Smith v. Ryan

Smith claims that his 6th Amd. rights were violated by hearsay testimony of the medical examiner who conducted the autopsy of one of the victims at his sentencing hearing. The Court found no clearly established Supreme Court right to confront witnesses at sentencing, thereby, precluding his claim. Smith argued that his constitutional rights were violated by introduction of prior crime evidence at his penalty-phase hearing. In denying this claim the Court found that the state court finding that the evidence was relevant to his sexual sadism diagnosis evidence and that it did not render his trial fundamentally unfair was not an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law. Neither did this evidence violate his 8th Amd. rights or the Ex Post facto clause. The court also denied his challenges to the Arizona death penalty process on vagueness grounds. Finally, the Court denied his ineffective assistance of counsel claim, for failing to present new evidence of organic brain damage, at his resentencing proceedings as it was procedurally defaulted. The procedural default could not be overcome by Martinez v. Ryan as the Court found the ineffective assistance of counsel claim was not substantial.

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