Friday, December 11, 2009

Cox v. Ayers, No. 07-99010 (12-10-09). Recently, in Pinholster v. Ayers, No. 03-99003, an en banc 9th granted habeas relief due to IAC for failure to develop evidence of excruciating childhood abuse. Now, in this case, the 9th (Graber joined by Wardlaw with a dissent by Pregerson) affirm the denial of habeas relief on IAC during sentencing. The panel reasons that counsel made an investigation, mounted some evidence of childhood misery, but chose instead to concentrate on the strategy that the petitioner was not the shooter in four victim homicides. Pregerson, dissenting, argues that counsel had failed to fully investigate the childhood abuse, including reviewing vital records or conducting key interviews. A decision made on incomplete information can still be faulty.


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