Amado v. Gonzalez

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 07-11-2014
  • Case #: 11-56420
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Senior District Judge Hellerstein for the Court; Circuit Judge Fletcher; Dissent by Circuit Judge Rawlinson
  • Full Text Opinion

Under Brady v. Maryland, prosecutors must disclose favorable and material evidence to the defense; and, in making a Brady claim, the defense must show that the evidence is both newly-discovered and that the exercise of due diligence would not have uncovered the evidence.

Randall Amado was convicted of aiding and abetting a murder after a key witness, Warren Hardy, identified him as being at the scene of the crime with a gun. Amado moved for a new trial following his conviction because Amado’s attorney did not receive Hardy’s probation report until after the conviction, which would have revealed Hardy’s criminal background and gang affiliation. The Superior Court and the California Court of Appeals, Second Appellate District, both denied Amado’s motion for a new trial. Additionally, the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, denied Amado’s writ of habeas corpus petition. The Ninth Circuit held that the prosecution violated Brady v. Maryland, by failing to disclose Hardy’s probation report. Under Brady, “prosecutors are constitutionally obligated to disclose ‘evidence favorable to an accused that is material either to guilt or to punishment.’” In making a Brady claim, the individual must establish “the newly-discovered nature of the evidence” and “the inability to discover and produce the evidence at trial, with the exercise of due diligence.” Nothing in the record supports that Amado knew of Hardy’s probation report. Also the report was material evidence because it would have made a significant difference in Hardy’s impeachment and by it not being available to Amado for Hardy’s cross-examination, he was greatly prejudiced. The panel held that the prosecution violated Amado’s due process rights by failing to disclose material evidence, so his writ of habeas corpus petition was granted. REVERSED and REMANDED.

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