Monday, April 25, 2005

Boyde v. Brown

No. 02-99008 (4-21-05). Petitioner robbed two 7-11 stores, kidnapped clerks in each, and in the later one, shot the clerk twice in the head. He was sentenced to death. The district court denied the habeas petition both on guilt and on sentencing. The 9th considered various guilt challenges, including the allegation that there was a secret deal with a codefendant who waived jury trail and took the stand to "confess" that the codefendant did the shooting. The circumstances were very peculiar, but the 9th held that the prosecutor could have jumped on the waiver issue without having reached an agreement. The 9th also found that a Batson challenge -- an African American woman -- was met by nonracial reasons. On sentencing however the 9th reversed the district court because of IAC. Counsel failed to explore, much less present, the horrific history of child abuse suffered by petitioner, nor the whole range of abuse suffered by the other siblings, at the hands of both parents. There were also the matter of using Charles Manson, the notorious mass murderer, as an explanation of petitioner's acts (Manson said that he was the product of the society's prisons and thus society was to blame). These reasons lead the 9th to grant sentencing relief.


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