Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Riley v. Filson, No. 17-15335 (8-9-19)(McKeown w/M. Smith & Hurwitz). The 9th held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the State’s 60(b)(6) motion seeking relief from a grant of habeas relief.  This case is about state law interpretation, especially relating to first-degree murder and the elements.  In 1991, the 9th interpreted Nevada state law as regards to first-degree murder in 1991 in Riley I, 786 F.3d 719 (9th Cir. 2015). The 9th found three separate elements.  The State now argues that the state supreme court changed its interpretation post-Riley and thus undermines Riley I. The 9th disagrees.  While the definitions for a period – 1992 to 2000 – were merged, the “window” of this merger occurs after the petitioner’s conviction was final. The 9th acknowledges that the state supreme court may disagree with whether these elements need to be defined separately; there is no disagreement with the three separate elements.

Congrats to David Anthony and Ben McGee, AFPDs with the Nevada FPD (Las Vegas).

The decision is here: 



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