Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Schad v. Ryan, 671 F.3d 708 (9th Cir. 2011)

In 1979 Schad was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death.  His conviction was affirmed by the Arizona Supreme Court, and his state and federal habeas petitions denied in twelve subsequent years. In 2010 the 9th Circuit on habeas corpus reversed the conviction on grounds Schad should be allowed an evidentiary hearing to determine whether he proceeded diligently in his ineffective counsel claim; 606 F.3d 102 (9th Cir. 2010). 

The Supreme Court granted cert., reviewed the record, and in a two line opinion reversed and remanded to the 9th Circuit for reconsideration in light of Cullen v. Pinholster (reviewed in an earlier post). The Supreme in Cullen had reversed the 9th Circuit for ignoring AEDPA 42 U.S.C 2254d (for years) by ignoring its provisions. The 9th Circuit had ignored AEDPA in Schad.

The 9th Circuit rewrote its opinion in accord with the Supreme Court order and denied habeas corpus on the merits and on sentencing.  Some of the 9th Circuit judges (including the ones who wrote the original opinion ) may finally be getting the message.  This decision in Schad v. Ryan is the first time in a decade the 9th Circuit has affirmed a death penalty case. 

Note: This case was decided on November 16, 2011 and decided by the 9th Circuit in 2011. For a 1979 conviction.  The current opinon is the third amended decision rendered by the 9th Circuit, having been reversed by the Supreme Court.

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