- Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
- Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
- Date Filed: 11-15-2022
- Case #: 19-17509
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Callahan, C.J. for the Court; Collins, C.J., Concurring; & Bybee, C.J.
- Full Text Opinion
Petitioner was convicted of murder and filed a writ of habeas corpus, alleging two letters written by a codefendant, not admitted to trial, exonerated him. Evidence admitted included surveillance footage putting him at the scene of the crime, and testimony of an eyewitness positively identifying him as the killer. The letters had deficiencies: trial counsel was unable to have the letters authenticated by a handwriting expert, and they were internally inconsistent, each naming different killers. Petitioner’s claim of actual innocence was denied by the state court, and subsequently the district court. Petitioner did not establish a prima facie case of actual innocence, which requires more than asserting insufficient evidence to support his conviction. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2); Carriger v. Stewart, 132 F.3d 463, 476–77 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc). It must be more likely than not that no reasonable fact finder could find Petitioner guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, when taking the new evidence into consideration. Jones v. Taylor, 763 F.3d 1242, 1246 (9th Cir. 2014). Petitioner’s new evidence, when viewed with the whole record, does not reach this “extraordinarily high” standard. Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390, 400 (1993). Not only was the new evidence internally inconsistent, which a reasonable fact finder would take into consideration, it does not negate the evidence which led to his conviction in the first place.