Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Perez v. Rosario, No. 04-15279 (5-22-06). The 9th considers whether a proffered plea bargain based on a mistake can be IAC. Here, the defendant was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon. He was a state three striker. The prosecutor offered a plea, mistakenly believing that one strike didn't count. The petitioner turned the deal down, went to trial, and lost. He received 47 years. He now claims that he would have accepted the plea if his counsel has advised him correctly. The 9th (O'Scannlain) didn't buy it, concluding that the mistakes would have been rectified, and that the prosecutor would have withdrawn the plea, or the court would have rejected it, or that defense counsel couldn't be sure that the mistake would have remained undiscovered.

Vo v. Benov, No. 04-56689 (5-22-06). It isn't nice going to another country (Thailand) and attempting to blow up the Vietnamese Embassy. The US and the Thais were upset with petitioner, who belonged to the "Government to Free Vietnam" that has been deemed a terrorist organization. The petitioner and an associate went to Thailand and tried to wreck havoc. They were unsuccessful, but prosecutions followed. The Thais asked for extradition, and the 9th affirmed the extradition order, ruling against petitioner that his acts were political activity.

Benitez v. Garcia, No. 04-56231 (5-23-06). Does this country follow treaties and conventions, and do the courts enforce them? This is an issue that is regularly coming up. Here, in the extradition context, the 9th does enforce an extradition treaty the US has with Venezuela that states that a sentence imposed cannot exceed 30 years. The petitioner here was extradited for a murder, and given, in state court, 15 years to life. The state courts and the federal courts all had issues with ripeness, arguing that the claim would be triggered once the petitioner had served 30. The 9th actually read the treaty where it stated that the sentence imposed could not exceed 30, and the correspondence in this case indicated that the Venezuelan gov't had indicated that it would not be "in principle" greater than 30. The issue was moot, and the treaty's language controls where it is exact, and covers the crimes for which the defendant is extradited. The state courts' findings were clearly wrong and not given AEDPA deference. The writ is granted..


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