Thursday, March 10, 2016

Burton v. Davis (9th Cir. - March 10, 2016)

When Judge Bybee (joined by Judge Rawlinson) writes the majority opinion  in a death penalty habeas case, and grants relief, you should already have a very good sense that he's right.  Even if Judge O'Scannlain dissents.

That's the case here.

It's a pre-AEDPA case.  Judge Bybee expressly notes in a footnote that the result would go the other way under AEDPA.  But since there's a circuit case on point, Burton gets a new trial.

Mind you, Burton's been on death row for thirty-two years.  That's a long time for a case to work its way through the state and federal systems.  Especially for, as here, a first habeas petition.

But it is what it is.