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Name: Delgado v. Lewis
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 08/23/2000
Subsequent History: None

On this remand following the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in Smith v. Robbins (2000) 528 U.S. —, the appellate court reconsidered its decision, and concluded that Smith altered the analysis but not the result, and affirmed the district court. The appellate court found that trial counsel rendered constitutionally ineffective assistance and that appellate counsel similarly rendered ineffective assistance in filing a brief pursuant to People v. Wende (1979) 25 Cal.3d 436, despite the fact that a certificate of probable cause had been issued certifying two issues. Both instances of ineffective assistance were prejudicial. At the trial level, appellant was virtually unrepresented, and prejudice can therefore be presumed. At the appellate level, there were trial court deficiencies significant enough to warrant reversal, and those issues were not raised. The appellate court could not determine, however, whether the state court’s decision was objectively unreasonable because no rationale for its decision was supplied Under these circumstances, federal habeas review is not de novo, but rather an independent review of the record is required to determine whether the state court clearly erred in its application of controlling federal law. Here, there was a total failure of the legal system to provide even a modicum of acceptable representation to petitioner. The state court unreasonably applied clearly established federal law under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. The judgment of the district court granting the writ of habeas corpus was affirmed. Appellant’s challenge to 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(8) as a violation of due process, either facially or as applied, failed here. Section 922(g)(8) prohibits the possession of a firearm by an individual subject to a domestic violence restraining order issued after a hearing in state court. The statute requires that an individual charged have received actual notice of the restraining order hearing and have had an opportunity to participate in the hearing. To obtain a conviction the government need only prove that the act of possession was “knowing,” not that the individual know of the prohibition on the possessing of arms. Because the issuance of the restraining order transformed the otherwise “innocent” nature of gun possession by specifically curtailing appellant’s activities in light of the court’s recognition of his past behavior, it should have alerted appellant to the possibility of other limitations on his conduct, including the possession of firearms. Accordingly, departure from the rule that ignorance of the law is no defense was not required here.