Friday, March 25, 2005

Stuard v. Stewart (9th Cir. - March 22, 2005)

Judge Kleinfeld writes an excellent opinion in this case. The opinion is extremely well-written. It is fairly short, erudite, persuasive, and -- at times -- even a bit witty. And it reaches the right result: that Stuard was not entitled to habeas merely because he insisted on going to trial early -- within a period in which he had a right to have his trial commenced pursuant to Arizona law -- even though this meant his attorney would be less prepared. If state law gives you the right to go to trial early, you can choose to exercise that right if you want, but alongside that choice comes the risk that your attorney might be marginally less prepared as a result. It might be different if state law required the defendant to go to trial early; e.g., three days after the indictment was issued. But that wasn't the case here; rather, it was entirely up to Stuard.

So rightfully no habeas.