Brief of Amici Curiae California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Mexican Capital Legal Assistance Program in Support of Petitioner-Appellee and Supporting Affirmance.
Argument: The District Court’s ruling that the California death penalty system cannot withstand scrutiny under the Constitution is correct. Delays in California’s review of death penalty judgments are attributable in significant part to the state’s failure to timely provide and protect the function of court-appointed counsel. The District Court’s analysis of the inadequacies of California’s implementation of the right to counsel throughout the state’s death penalty litigation process is well supported. Several characteristics of California’s death penalty litigation system contribute to the systemic delays. Systemic delays can cause prejudice.
Brief of Amicus Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Petition for Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc.
Argument: The panel opinion guarantees that victims of prosecutorial misconduct will be denied justice for no fault of their own. The panel decision punishes habeas petitioners for not knowing what they could not know. Under the panel rule, the stringent second-and-successive standard applies to later-brought Brady claims even if the exculpatory evidence was not known at the time of the initial petition. The panel opinion creates perverse incentives for both prosecutors and petitioners’ counsel. The panel opinion punishes petitioners for the misconduct of prosecutors, and creates incentives for prosecutors to continue to withhold evidence until an initial federal petition is on the books. Such an unjust rule – one that punishes victims of prosecutorial misconduct for the mistakes of the perpetrators – could not have been what the drafters of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) intended.