Cruz v. Arizona

Brief of National Association Of Criminal Defense Lawyers, American Civil Liberties Union, and American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona as Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioner.

Brief filed: 06/21/2022


Cruz v. Arizona

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 21-846


Amici submit this brief in support of petitioner's argument that Arizona's refusal to apply federal law--not merely in a single postconviction proceeding, but at every point throughout a criminal defendant's case--is not immune from this Court's review. Here, the Arizona courts have denied petitioner's Due Process claim under Simmons for more than a decade and a half, first on the grounds that Simmons did not apply to Arizona's sentencing scheme, and then, after this Court made clear that it does apply, on the ground that he should have raised it previously because Simmons applied all along. The only thing consistent about the Arizona Supreme Court's treatment of petitioner's Simmons claim is that petitioner loses either way. Under these circumstances, the Arizona Supreme Court's invocation of a procedural rule to bar petitioner's Simmons claim is not "independent and adequate," and does not bar this Court's review.


Jeffrey L. Fisher, NACDL, Stanford, CA; David D. Cole, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Washington, DC; Jared G. Keenan, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation Of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ; Noah A. Levine, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale And Dorr LLP, New York, NY; Nathaniel W. Reisinger, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale And Dorr LLP, Washington, DC.

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