Clabourne v. Ryan

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 03-05-2014
  • Case #: 09-99022
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Clifton for the Court; Circuit Judges Berzon and Ikuta
  • Full Text Opinion

When a district court has ruled on a petitioner’s default of a claim prior to the announcement of Martinez v. Ryan, and the result of that claim would otherwise be uncertain, appellate courts should otherwise remand the case for additional review.

Scott Clabourne was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1982 in Arizona. Clabourne’s first federal habeas petition was granted as to his capital sentence in 1995. Clabourne was again sentenced to death in 1997 by state court. It was for this resentencing that Clabourne brought his current federal habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 where he raised two claims of ineffective assistance by his resentencing counsel, which was denied by the district court, which Clabourne then appealed. In his appeal, Clabourne prays for the court to issue a certificate of appealability to additional claims and to overturn the district court’s denial of his habeas petition based on the argument that the Arizona Supreme Court did not consider mitigating evidence regarding Clabourne’s mental illness. The Ninth Circuit held that Clabourne did not receive effective assistance of counsel at his resentencing due to counsel’s failure to object at the admission of his confession to law enforcement. Stating that, under Martinez v. Ryan, when a district court had ruled on a Petitioner’s procedural default prior to the announcement of Martinez and the result would otherwise be uncertain, appellate courts should remand the case for further review. Further, the panel affirmed the denial of Clabourne’s habeas petition on the remaining grounds. AFFIRMED in part, VACATED in part, and REMANDED.

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