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Supreme Court Conference

Tomorrow is conference day at the U.S. Supreme Court.  The relisted cases of Allen v. Lawhorn and Wilson v. Corcoran, noted here, are relisted again, but United States v. Gonzalez is not.  The Supreme Court on Monday took up the issue in Gonzalez in another case, as noted here.

An interesting case on the conference list is Ryan v. Robinson, yet another Arizona murder case botched by the Ninth Circuit.  SCOTUSblog's page on the case is here.  The case presents the recurring theme that I call The Puzzle of the Morphing Claim. How do you apply the procedural default and AEDPA deference rules when the claim morphs between state court and federal court, so that the claim petitioner is making to the federal court is sort of but not really the same as the one the state court rejected?

In Question 2, the state contends that the Ninth Circuit also took an overly expansive view of the Lockett rule.  That rule requires the sentencer to consider the defendant's proffered mitigation evidence, but it does not preclude a sentencer from deciding, after considering it, that it is not mitigating or entitled to zero weight.

The online docket says that Jeffrey Zick is counsel for Robinson.  Don't believe everything you read in the online docket.

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