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US Supreme Court Docket

Supreme Court Docket

[Download January 12, 2008 Argument Calendar PDF]

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Knowles v. Mirzayance
No. 07-1315


    Knowles v. Mirzayance



    Concluding that defense counsel was ineffective in advising petitioner to withdraw
    his not-guilty-by-reason-of-insanity plea, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted
    habeas relief to petitioner without analyzing the state-court adjudication deferentially
    under “clearly established” law as required by 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) and by
    supplanting the district court’s factual findings and credibility determinations with its
    own, opposite factual findings. This Court vacated the Ninth Circuit decision and
    remanded the case for further consideration in light of Carey v. Musladin, 127 S. Ct.
    649 (2006). On remand, the Ninth Circuit conceded that “no Supreme Court case
    has specifically addressed a counsel’s failure to advance the defendant’s only
    affirmative defense” but nonetheless concluded that its original decision was
    “unaffected” by Musladin and subsequent § 2254(d) decisions of this Court.

    The questions presented are:

    1. Did the Ninth Circuit again exceed its authority under § 2254(d) by granting
    habeas relief without considering whether the state-court adjudication of the claim
    was “unreasonable” under “clearly established Federal law” based on its previous
    conclusion that trial counsel was required to proceed with an affirmative insanity
    defense because it was the only defense available and despite the absence of a
    Supreme Court decision addressing the point?

    2. May a federal appellate court substitute its own factual findings and credibility
    determinations for those of a district court without determining whether the district
    court’s findings were “clearly erroneous?”



  • Docket Sheet From the U.S. Supreme Court.


    Coming Soon
Counsel of Record

For Petitioner:

Steven Edward Mercer
Office of the Attorney General of California
Los Angeles, CA

For Respondent:

Charles M. Sevilla
San Diego, CA


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