Kyzar v. Ryan

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 03-12-2015
  • Case #: 12-17564
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Court judge Bucklo for the Court, Circuit Court Judges Berzon and Rawlinson
  • Full Text Opinion

It is proper to reject a sufficiency of the evidence claim when the state presented sufficient evidence of the elements of the alleged crime.

Dino Kyzar was an inmate at a state prison in Arizona. Kyzar held significant authority over the other Caucasian inmates. They would come to Kyzar when they were in need of knives and other paraphernalia. In March of 1997, fellow inmate, Leroy Cropper, felt disrespected when the prison guards publicly reprimanded him. Cropper went to Kyzar and asked Kyzar for a knife, so that Cropper could get his revenge on the guards. After discussing the matter with Cropper, Kyzar told Cropper where he could find a knife. Cropper subsequently found the knife and proceeded to attack, and kill, one of the guards. Kyzar was convicted in Arizona state court of conspiring to commit assault by a prisoner. Kyzar sought federal habeas corpus relief and argued that the evidence at trial was insufficient to support his conviction. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit explained that habeas corpus petitions are subject two separate layers of deference. To be granted habeas corpus, the panel first looked at the evidence to determine whether any reasonable fact finder could have found the essential elements of the charged claim beyond a reasonable doubt. Additionally, relief will only be granted if the state court acted in an objectively unreasonable manner when it applied the facts. The panel affirmed the state courts findings and determined that the evidence sufficiently showed that a reasonable fact finder could determine that Kyzar intended to promote the crime, and that he conspired with one or more other individuals in the commission of that crime. Therefore, the panel denied Kyzar habeas relief. AFFIRMED.

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