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Cavazos v. Williams QP

| 1 Comment
The questions the State of California asked the Supreme Court to review in Cavazos v. Williams were:

1. Whether a habeas petitioner's claim has been "adjudicated on the merits" for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) where the state court denied relief in an explained decision but did not expressly acknowledge a federal-law basis for the claim.

2. Whether, under § 2254, a federal habeas court (a) may grant relief on the ground that the petitioner had a Sixth Amendment right to retain a biased juror on the panel and (b) may reject a state court's finding of juror bias because it disagrees with the finding and the reasons stated for it, even where the finding was rationally supported by evidence in the state-court record.
The Court accepted Question 1 and turned down Question 2.

The Ninth Circuit opinion, by our favorite circuit judge, is here.

1 Comment

In fairness, Reinhardt is joined by Judge Kozinski.

The lack of deference in the opinion with respect to the California court's factfinding is very troublesome.

I can see both sides to this one, but Packer v. Early seems to foreclose the Ninth Circuit's position.

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