Rainwater Law Group

Effective Criminal Defense

Goodrum v. Busby, No. 13-55010 [June 9, 2016]

Goodrum v. Busby

The district court concluded that Mr. Goodrum’s petition was a “second or successive” petition and dismissed. The Ninth Circuit held that his petition was not, in fact, “second or successive. Goodrum file a petition in district court, while a petition was pending in the California Supreme Court, alleging his already exhausted claims. When the California Supreme Court denied Goodrum's petition, instead of amending his petition, he filed for a “second or successive” petition in the 9th. Because Goodrum misinterpreted the Court's order telling him to file in the district court, he instead litigated his first petition and after its denial again filed for a “second or successive” petition in the 9th. Courts as “a general principle” have ruled that a petition will not be deemed second or successive unless, at a minimum, an earlier-filed petition has been finally adjudicated. “Thus, when a petitioner files a new petition while his first petition remains pending, courts have uniformly held that the new petition cannot be deemed second or successive.” If, as here, the “district court improperly dismisses the second-in-time petition instead of construing it as a motion to amend, the case must be remanded so that the petition can be adjudicated under the standard applicable to first petitions.” This same rule applies equally to the 9th circuit. Because here the 9th failed to clearly inform Goodrum of the need to file in district court, the Court held that Goodrum was affirmatively mislead as to the reason for the denial of his second or successive and is entitled to a remedy. The Court remanded with instruction to adjudicate his petition as a first petition.

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