Patsalis v. Shinn

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Post-Conviction Relief
  • Date Filed: 09-06-2022
  • Case #: 20-16800
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Forrest, J. for the Court; Siler, J.; Christen, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

If Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) applies, habeas relief cannot be granted unless the state court’s decision was (1) “contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States,” or (2) “based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State Court proceeding.” Johnson v. Williams, 568 U.S. 289, 292 (2013).

 After two previous felony convictions, Petitioner was convicted of twenty-five felonies committed within a three-month timeframe. The trial court imposed consecutive sentences for each conviction, which totaled 292 years. On appeal, Petitioner argued that the consecutive sentence is disproportionate to his crimes and therefore cruel and unusual punishment. The Arizona Court of Appeals concluded that each of Petitioner’s conviction sentences were individually proportionate and therefore the 292 years sentence was not a violation of the 8th Amendment. Petitioner sought habeas relief arguing Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) differential standard of review does not apply to Arizona Court of Appeals’ decision. The district court disagreed and denied Petitioner relief. The 9th Circuit held that AEDPA applies to the decision and habeas relief cannot be granted. The 9th Circuit reasoned that the Arizona Court of Appeals’ decision was not “contrary to or [an] unreasonable application” of federal law because the law is not clear in determining whether sentence proportionality under the 8th Amendment should be on an individual or cumulative basis as there is limited precedent on the issue. Therefore, it was not unreasonable for the Arizona Court of Appeals to apply AEDPA and deny habeas relief to the Petitioner. AFFIRMED. 

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