Thursday, March 11, 2010

Stanley v. Schriro, No. 06-99009 (3-10-10) (Rawlison; concurrence by B. Fletcher; partial concurrence and partial dissent by Kleinfeld). The 9th grants a remand for an evidentiary hearing on an IAC sentencing claim in this capital murder petition. The petitioner murdered his wife and young child in 1986. He got life on his wife's murder and death for the child's. The 9th affirms the denial of his guilt phase claims, holding that the state court's determination that he was not in custody during his confession was not unreasonable. There was a question as to the aggressiveness of questioning by the police -- but not enough to overturn the determination under AEDPA. As for sentencing, though, the 9th held that counsel's seemingly failure to make use of psychological evidence of a disassociative state could have had a prejudicial impact on mitigation. This evidence could well have gone to negate premeditation. The opinion also chides dissent's focus on the gruesome facts of the case as opposed to the legal standards, and rebukes the dissent for implying that the claims are too old, despite the fact that the petitioner met all his AEDPA deadlines, and it was the courts that held this case in deciding. B. Fletcher, concurring, would expand the remand to include a hearing on the failure to call any mental health experts at sentencing. In dissent, Kleinfeld argues that the issue is really about the supplementing of mental mitigation evidence already before the sentencing judge from the guilt trial. He also bemoans the length of time this case has taken, and recounts the factual basis of the offense at length.
Congratulations to AFPD Paula Harms and AFPD Sylvia Lett of the Arizona FPD (CHU Unit).


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