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Name: Reynoso v. Giurbino
Case #: 05-55695
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 09/06/2006

The court granted a writ of habeas corpus based on ineffective assistance of counsel where Reynoso’s trial counsel failed to interview the only two witnesses who placed him at the scene of the murder, and failed to cross examine them effectively by failing to question them regarding the rewards they received for the information provided to police. The consequence was that the defense could not provide for the jury the witnesses’ motive to lie which would have explained why the eyewitnesses’ identifications were not trustworthy. The testimony of the witnesses was central to the case, and the case was otherwise very weak. This was not a close case. Had the jurors believed that the eyewitnesses were motivated to lie by their desire for money, it is unlikely that any reasonable juror would have voted to convict. The state court’s determination that Reynoso was afforded his Sixth Amendment rights was objectively unreasonable.