Post-Conviction and Prejudice: The Ninth Circuit's Application of Martinez in Pending Capital Cases
Phoenix Law Review, Vol. 7, 2013
40 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2018
Date Written: April 1, 2014
The 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Martinez v. Ryan created a new equitable rule permitting federal courts to consider the merits of otherwise unreviewable claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. This article discusses the rule set forth in Martinez and examines Arizona death-penalty cases that were pending on appeal when the opinion came down, focusing on the Ninth Circuit's treatment of Martinez in cases where an appellant seeks to return to district court for further development and consideration of his claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. The article suggests that more latitude should be afforded for development of otherwise defaulted claims in those cases where a state prisoner has been sentenced to death. In that regard, the article presents a workable solution consistent with Supreme Court precedent when evaluating cases under Martinez and urges the appellate courts to allow capital prisoners the opportunity to return to the federal district court to develop substantial claims that were never raised in state court.
Keywords: death penalty, capital punishment, procedural default, ineffective counsel
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation