Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Hernandez v. Chappell, No. 11-99013 (12-29-17)(Reinhardt w/Pregerson; dissent by Nguyen).

The district court already had found IAC in the sentencing phase of this capital habeas for failure to investigate and present a diminished mental capacity defense. The State did not appeal the court’s decision to set aside the death penalty. As for the guilt phase, the district court had found no prejudice. The diminished capacity evidence, in the court’s opinion, would not have changed the guilty verdict given the facts, the multiple murders, rapes, and the detailed confession.
On appeal, the panel found IAC in the guilt phase. A majority, which Pregerson helped constitute before his death, also found prejudice. The majority opinion goes through the extensive evidence of diminishment due to organic brain damage, mental illness, and horrid abuse and concludes that one juror probably would have been swayed.

Dissenting, Nguyen agrees with IAC but would not find prejudice given the facts and actions supporting guilt.

Congrats to Tracy Casadio and Margo Rocconi, Deputy FPDs, Cal C. (Los Angeles).

The decision is here:

US v. Aldana, No. 16-50372 (12-29-17)(Ikuta w/Fletcher & Barker).
The 9th affirms a conviction for attempted illegal entry at a time and place other than designated by immigration officials under 8 U.S.C. § 1325. The 9th rejects the argument that entry “designated” by immigration officials can occur in an entire geographic region rather than at a specific immigration facility.  The 9th examined the text, legislative history, and purpose of the statute to support its decision of why a defendant must go to a specific building or facility to enter this country.

Interesting argument by Doug Keller, Deputy Federal Defender, Cal S.

The decision is here:



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