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USCA9 on Post-Pinholster and Qualified Immunity

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A couple quick notes on Ninth Circuit decisions this morning.

Arizona murderer David Scott Detrich hit the quinella in the selection of his Ninth Circuit panel.  With Judges Pregerson and Paez, he had two votes to overturn his death sentence if any halfway plausible justification could be found.  The Supreme Court vacated and remanded for reconsideration in light of Cullen v. Pinholster.  Today the panel decided, 2-1, that their decision on IAC in the penalty phase stands despite Pinholster.  Given that dissenting Judge McKeown is closer to the Ninth's present center of gravity, this one might actually be corrected en bancUpdate:  Kim Smith has this story in the (Tucson) Arizona Daily Star.

In another case, another panel decided unanimously that former terrorism detainee Jose Padilla (subsequently convicted on other charges) can't sue former DAAG John Yoo, who gets qualified immunity.

I will not have time to review these decisions in depth today, but they are sufficiently newsworthy that I wanted to note them here.

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I will say it again. Federal courts simply need to be out of the penalty phase of death cases.

This case cries out for justice, yet federal courts thwart it.

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