Skip to content
Name: Moore v. Rowland
Case #: 03-15587
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 05/19/2004

A state’s violation of its own separation-of-powers principles does not give rise to a federal due process violation. The defendant here argued that second degree murder in California is a judicial rather than statutory offense, and thus violates the separation of powers required by California’s state constitution. The Ninth Circuit refused to consider the alleged error, as it raised only a question of state law not amounting to a federal constitutional issue. The court further rejected the argument that retroactive application of a California Supreme Court decision deprived the defendant of due process, because the state court had merely chosen between two competing lines of authority, and thus did not change the law in an unexpected or indefensible manner.