Monday, October 19, 2009

Styers v. Schriro, 574 F.3d 1026 (9th Cir. 2008); Ryan v. Styers, 130 S.Ct. 379 (2009) (U.S.) Cert. Den.

Ryan v. Styers, 574 F.3d 1026; Cert. Den., 130 S.Ct. 379 (2009) Styers planned and executed his live-in womans four year old child, presumably to obtain insurance proceeds. The jury found him guilty and the court sentenced him to death. The Arizona Supreme Court affirmed the conviction as did the U.S. District Court on habeas corpus. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held the doctors who testified on behalf of Styers could not connect his alleged post traumatic stress disorder to the killing. According to the Ninth Circuit, this nexus test is Constitutional error as the trial court must consider all mitigating evidence without considering nexus. The Arizona Supreme Court did just that as the Ninth Circuit concedes: [T]he Arizona Supreme Court considered all of the proffered evidence. Despite that statement written by the Arizona Supreme Court on Styer's appeal from his conviction in state court, the Ninth Circuit nevertheless reversed. Inexplicably, the Supreme Court denied review; Ryan v. Styers, 2009 WL 3162206 (U.S.). The Ninth Circuit continues to invoke a variety of reasons to reverse death penalty cases. In Styers, the Arizona Supreme Court affirmed the conviction for murder and death sentence on direct appeal as did the U.S. District Court on habeas corpus. As a tentative observation, the Ninth Circuit refuses to affirm a death penalty case with the single exception of a murderer who the court nevertheless encouraged him to seek clemency from the Governor and congratulated him on writing a book in prison.

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