Friday, May 02, 2008

Pinhoster v. Ayers (9th Cir. - May 2, 2008)

The lower court docket number is"CV-95-06240-GLT"; in other words, this case has been pending in federal court for 13 years. The appeal to the Ninth Circuit was filed in 2003, it took four years before the thing was scheduled for oral argument, and over a year after argument for the panel to issue its opinion. And the opinion, in turn, consists of three separate opinions -- one from each of the judges on the panel -- and totals 74 single-spaced pages. Oh, and the crime that gave rise to the opinion took place in January of 1982; i.e., over a quarter-century ago.

Which can mean only one thing: It's a death penalty case. And, here, the Ninth Circuit reverses the grant of penalty phase habeas relief provided by Judge Taylor.

You see a lot more reversals of habeas relief coming out of the Northern District than you do from the Central District. Chalk this up towards evening the score, I guess.

Judge Tallman writes the majority opinion, Chief Judge Kozinski concurs, and Judge Fisher dissents.