Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Elmore & Doe vs. The Execution Table (9th Cir. - Mar. 30/April 1, 2015)

Two death penalty habeas cases.  Here's a summary of the first one (from the concurring opinion):

"[Elmore's] lawyer, who had never before handled a capital case, advised Elmore to plead guilty without receiving any agreement as to sentence in return.  [FN:  “[P]leading guilty without a guarantee that the prosecution will recommend a life sentence holds little if any benefit for the defendant.” [Cites]] . . . . The lawyer allowed Elmore to appear in shackles at his first appearance before the sentencing jury. The one-hour mitigation presentation consisted entirely of unconvincing attempts to prove through court personnel that Elmore was remorseful. And, counsel never investigated whether this senseless crime was at least in part the product of Elmore’s organic brain damage."

The second one is very similar.  Horrible crime.  Subpar representation by the attorney.  Sentence of death.

Judge Milan Smith writes the opinion in the first case.  Judge Reinhardt writes the opinion in the second one.

The first case (by Judge Smith) reverses the death penalty; the second (by Judge Reinhardt) affirms it.

I say that, of course, only because it's April Fool's Day.  Not even a good "trick".  As you might expect, it's actually the other way around.

I'll add that Doe's case gets assigned to a panel that includes not only Judge Reinhardt, but also Judge Pregerson (as well as Judge Wardlaw).

Not really what the San Diego District Attorney's Office really wanted to see, I'm sure.