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Schriro v. Landrigan

Supreme Court of the United States

January 9, 2007, Argued ; May 14, 2007, Decided

No. 05-1575

Opinion

 [*468]  [***841]  [**1937]   Justice Thomas delivered the opinion of the Court.

In cases where an applicant for federal habeas relief is not barred from obtaining an evidentiary hearing by 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2), the decision to grant such a hearing rests in the discretion of the district court.  [****8]  Here, the District Court determined that respondent could not make out a colorable claim of ineffective assistance of counsel and therefore was not entitled to an evidentiary hearing. It did so after reviewing the state-court record and expanding the record to  [*469]  include additional evidence offered by respondent. The Court of Appeals held that the District Court abused its discretion in refusing to grant the hearing. We hold that it did not.

Respondent Jeffrey Landrigan was convicted in Oklahoma of second-degree murder in 1982. In 1986, while in custody for that murder, Landrigan repeatedly stabbed another inmate and was subsequently convicted of assault and battery with a deadly weapon. Three years later, Landrigan escaped from prison and murdered Chester Dean Dyer in Arizona.

An Arizona jury found Landrigan guilty of theft, second-degree burglary, and felony murder for having caused the victim's death in the course of a burglary. At sentencing, Landrigan's counsel attempted to present the testimony of Landrigan's ex-wife and birth mother as mitigating evidence. But at Landrigan's request, both women refused to testify. When the trial judge asked why the witnesses refused, [****9]  Landrigan's counsel responded that "it's at my client's wishes." App. to Pet. for Cert. D-3. Counsel explained that he had "advised [Landrigan] very strongly that I think it's very much against his interests to take that particular position." Ibid.  The court then questioned Landrigan:

"THE COURT: Mr. Landrigan, have you instructed your lawyer that you do not wish for him to bring any mitigating circumstances to my attention?

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550 U.S. 465 *; 127 S. Ct. 1933 **; 167 L. Ed. 2d 836 ***; 2007 U.S. LEXIS 5496 ****; 75 U.S.L.W. 4315; 20 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 257

DORA B. SCHRIRO, DIRECTOR, ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Petitioner v. JEFFREY TIMOTHY LANDRIGAN, aka BILLY PATRICK WAYNE HILL

Subsequent History:  [****1] US Supreme Court rehearing denied by Schriro v. Landrigan, 551 U.S. 1177, 128 S. Ct. 7, 168 L. Ed. 2d 784, 2007 U.S. LEXIS 8915 (2007)

Related proceeding at Landrigan v. Trujillo, 623 F.3d 1253, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 22550 (9th Cir., Oct. 25, 2010)

Prior History: ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.

Landrigan v. Schriro, 441 F.3d 638, 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 5775 (9th Cir. Ariz., 2006)

Disposition: Reversed and remanded.

CORE TERMS

mitigating evidence, sentencing, evidentiary hearing, district court, birth mother, postconviction, mitigation, ex-wife, investigate, alcohol, waived, habeas relief, mitigating circumstances, right to present, counsel's failure, federal court, en banc, biological, murder, present mitigating evidence, state court, violent, determining facts, sentencing judge, brain disorder, death penalty, presentation, aggravating, intelligent, childhood

Criminal Law & Procedure, Habeas Corpus, Evidentiary Hearings, General Overview, Standards of Review, Contrary & Unreasonable Standard