Friday, September 28, 2012

Cudjo v. Ayers (9th Cir. - Sept. 28, 2012)

It's a death penalty case from California.  So you know three things.  First, the California Supreme Court heard the case and issued a published opinion.  Second, that if the death sentence was affirmed -- and it typically will be -- there will eventually be a published opinion from the Ninth Circuit.  Finally, we can be virtually certain that the temporal gap between (1) and (2) will be prolonged.

Today's no exception.

The California Supreme Court affirmed Armenia Cudjo's conviction and death sentence.  Not unusual.  No one wants to be the next Rose Bird, after all.

The Ninth Circuit, by contrast, reverses the dismissal of Cudjo's habeas petition and grants relief.  I hear you:  Not unusual either, you say.  That wacky liberal Ninth Circuit, after all.  Some support for that view derives from the fact that Judge O'Scannlain does indeed dissent.

Except for one thing.  The nubjob liberal who writes the Ninth Circuit's opinion granting habeas relief is Judge Randy Smith.  Joined by his equally leftie colleague Chief Judge Kozinski.

It's a good case that contrasts the politics of the California Supreme Court with the politics of the Ninth Circuit.  At least in death penalty cases.

But fear not.  One thing remains the same.  Delay.

The California Supreme Court published its opinion in 1993.  The Ninth Circuit's opinion was published nearly two decades later, in 2012.

The more things change . . . .