Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Bemore v. Chappell (9th Cir. - June 9, 2015)

When I saw that it was a death penalty habeas case, and that Judge Berzon had written the opinion, I felt I had a reasonable guess as to how it might come out.  When I saw that Judges Reinhardt and Gould were on the panel, and that neither had dissented, I felt even more strongly that I knew where this one was going.

But as I started to read the syllabus, I began to falter.  Deficient representation, sure.  But no prejudice.  No prejudice again.

Could it be?  Could this panel really affirm a death penalty case?!

Fear not.  I finally reach the end of the syllabus.  The conviction gets ratified.  But the death sentence gets reversed.

Which is what one might have guessed purely from the caption.