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Parole Grumbling at USCA9

On January 24, the US Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit on the way it had been interfering in California parole decisions, and it did so in unusually strong language.  See prior posts here and here.  Today we were tipped to an unpublished memorandum disposition on Feb. 8 grudgingly implementing that decision, Kutylo v. Vaughn, No. 07-55829.  The main opinion simply affirms on the basis of Swarthout v. Cooke, the Supreme Court decision.  Then the notorious Judge Reinhardt chimes in with this:

Because the Supreme Court has held that whether there is "some evidence" to support a denial of parole, a right that California law affords inmates, is "no part of the Ninth Circuit's business," Swarthout v. Cooke, No. 10-333, Slip Op. at 6 (Jan. 24, 2011), and for that reason only, I reluctantly concur.
That rule -- that alleged errors of state law in state criminal cases are to be dealt with by the state courts and that federal habeas for state prisoners addresses only questions of federal law -- was not new this January.  It has been an integral part of the law since Congress first authorized federal habeas for state prisoners, and it is codified at 28 U.S.C. ยง2254(a). 

Judge Reinhardt apparently has his nose out of joint because the Supreme Court told him to obey an elementary rule of law that he has been flouting for years.  And this is not the first time the high court has done so.  "We have stated many times that 'federal habeas corpus relief does not lie for errors of state law.'"  Swarthout, at 4 (quoting Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U. S. 62, 67 (1991) (quoting Lewis v. Jeffers, 497 U. S. 764, 780 (1990))).

How many times do they have to explain this before he gets it?

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