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Name: Lee v. Kemna
Case #: 00-633
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 01/22/2002
Subsequent History: Cross-cites: 122 S.Ct. 877; 151 L.Ed.2d 820

The trial court denied a defendant’s request for a continuance when his alibi witnesses, who had traveled a long distance, left the courthouse for unexplained reasons. The Supreme Court held that postconviction federal review was not prevented even though the motion did not technically comply with state procedural rules for motions for continuance. The purposes of the rules were essentially met in this case, because it was apparent what was the expected testimony was and although the motion was oral rather than written, the trial transcript made the reasons for the request…

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Name: In re Sena
Case #: B153471
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 12/20/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. denied 4/10/02.

A petition for writ of habeas corpus which challenges the decision of the Board of Prison Terms to deny parole should be heard in the county which rendered the judgment of…

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Name: Huizar v. Carey
Case #: 00-56285
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 12/14/2001
Subsequent History: None

Huizar, a California prisoner, gave prison officials his state court habeas petition for mailing on April 15, 1996, according to the prison’s log of outgoing mail. The superior court did not receive the petition. Huizar wrote at least two more letters to the court inquiring about his petition. The petition was finally filed in the Superior Court on December 30, 1998. When Huizar filed a federal habeas petition, the district court dismissed it as time-barred. The appellate court here reversed. A prisoner’s control over the filing of his petition ceases when he delivers it…

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Name: Schell v. Witek
Case #: 97-56197
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/11/2000
Subsequent History: None

Where Schell's fingerprint inside a screen-protected window was the only evidence connecting him to the burglary, the evidence was sufficient to support Schell's burglary conviction. Here it was reasonable for the jury to have inferred that Schell left his fingerprint there during the commission of the burglary. Moreover, the evidence in the record was irreconcilable with the assertion that Schell might have innocently touched the inside of the window on some previous occasion. Schell did not knowingly and intelligently waive his motion for the appointment of new counsel under People v. Marsden (1970) 2 Cal.3d 118…

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Name: Solis v. Garcia
Case #: 98-56219
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/12/2000
Subsequent History: None

After expanding the Certificate of Appealability to all three issues raised in this federal habeas action, the appellate court denied the habeas petition because the jury instructions did not allow the jury to convict Solis of murder without finding that he acted with the requisite intent to aid and abet the predicate crime. While the instructions did not define the elements of the predicate crime, the instructions did require the jury to find that Solis had knowledge of the principal's unlawful purpose, had intent to encourage or facilitate the commission of the crime, and aided, promoted or encouraged the…

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Name: Saffold v. Newland
Case #: 99-15541
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/17/2000
Subsequent History: None

A district court erred when it failed to toll the statute of limitations for the period within which Saffold was pursuing state habeas relief. Saffold's conviction for murder was affirmed in 1992. In 1996, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) was enacted, which imposed a one-year statute of limitations for state prisoners filing federal petitions for habeas corpus. Since Saffold's conviction preceded passage of the AEDPA, the limitations period began running on AEDPA's effective date, April 24, 1996, and would have expired on April 23, 1997, unless it was tolled. Saffold filed his first…

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Name: Sistrunk v. Armenakis
Case #: 99-36000
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 11/30/2001
Subsequent History: None

Petitioner conceded that his habeas petition was procedurally barred but for the "Schlup gateway," i.e. that he should be able to argue the merits of the petition because he presented evidence of innocence so strong that the court could not have confidence in the outcome of the trial. (Schlup v. Delo (1995) 513 U.S. 298.) The evidence at issue in this forcible rape of a child case was testimony of a main prosecution witness, Dr. Bays, who testified that a scientific study proved that it is rare that a child lies about sex abuse. Further, the child…

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Name: James v. Pliler
Case #: 98-56751
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 10/29/2001
Subsequent History: None

When presented with a habeas corpus petition which includes both exhausted and unexhausted claims, a federal district court must explain to a pro se petitioner that he can amend the petition by deleting the unexhausted claims and proceed with the exhausted ones, rather than the court dismissing the entire petition without…

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Name: Allen v. Lewis
Case #: 01-15503
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 06/27/2001
Subsequent History: None

The federal habeas petition was 16 days late under AEDPA. The time was not tolled by the petitioner's transfer between prisons, when he lost access to his property for 27 days. There was no showing these facts amounted to the required "extraordinary circumstances beyond the prisoner's control" that "make it impossible to file a petition on time." He had time to prepare the petition before his…

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Name: Tyler v. Cain
Case #: 00-5961
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 06/28/2001
Subsequent History: Cross-cites: 150 L.Ed.2d 632; 121 S.Ct. 2478; Rehg. den. 8/27/01

Cage v. Louisiana (1990) 498 U.S. 39 established the rule that a jury instruction is unconstitutional if there is a reasonable likelihood that the jury understood the instruction to allow conviction without proof beyond a reasonable doubt. AEDPA prohibits the successive filing of habeas petitions unless the applicant can show reliance "on a new rule of constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court." (28 U.S.C. §§ 2244(b)(2)(A)). The Cage rule was not made retroactive to cases on collateral review. "Made" as used in the statute means "held." Neither Cage itself or the later case…

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