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Name: Cannedy v. Adams
Case #: 09-56902
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 02/07/2013
Subsequent History: Amended 7/16/2013: 733 F.3d 794

Defense counsel who failed to present alleged victim’s message recanting her claims of molestation provided ineffective assistance of counsel. Petitioner was convicted of committing lewd and lascivious acts on his stepdaughter, and of attempting to dissuade her from reporting them. The stepdaughter testified at the trial. She had recanted her allegation in a message she posted on the Internet, stating to her friends that she had made it up because she wanted to move to her biological father’s home. Although he was aware of this message, trial counsel did not present any witnesses to testify concerning the stepdaughter’s motivation to lie. California appellate courts rejected direct and collateral challenges to Cannedy’s conviction. In his federal habeas petition, Cannedy argued that he had received ineffective assistance of counsel. The district court granted his petition, finding that defense counsel’s conduct was deficient because the evidence showing the recantation was significant and potentially exculpatory, and a reasonable attorney would have sought to admit it. The Ninth Circuit affirmed this conclusion. The evidence was admissible as a prior inconsistent statement, and it provided critical corroboration of Cannedy’s claim that the stepdaughter had fabricated the entire incident.