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Name: Catlin v. Kern County Superior Court
Case #: F053705
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/22/2008
Subsequent History: rev. granted 11/19/08 (S167148)

A motion for post conviction discovery, pursuant to Penal Code section 1054.9, in a case where death or life without the possibility of parole has been imposed, must be filed within a reasonable time period. Catlin was convicted of murder in 1986 and sentenced to prison without the possibility of parole, and the judgment was affirmed in 1988. In 1990, he was convicted of two murders and sentenced to death, and the judgment affirmed in 2001. In 2000, he filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Supreme Court. In 2007, while the habeas action was pending, he filed a motion for post-conviction discovery under Penal Code section 1054.9, which permits a defendant to obtain discovery on his prosecution of a writ of habeas corpus. On the basis of dictum in footnote 2 of In re Steele (2004) 32 Cal.4th 682, the appellate court interpreted section 1054.9 to include a time requirement. It stated that although it could not provide a definition of a reasonable delay, if the delay in making the motion is lengthy, the circumstances justifying the delay and an explanation must be contained in the motion. Here, Catlin failed to adequately justify the seventeen years that passed between his conviction and his discovery motion.