Moormann v. Schriro

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 02-27-2012
  • Case #: 08-99035; 12-15395
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Schroeder for the Court; Circuit Judges McKeown and Rawlinson
  • Full Text Opinion

A death row inmate is not entitled to a stay of execution under Atkins when they allege that they have become mentally retarded after the offense, because there is no "clearly established law" that a person who was not mentally retarded at the time of the crime or trial may be immune from capital punishment under Atkins, "because of subsequent mental deterioration."

In 1985 Moormann was convicted of first-degree murder and was scheduled to be executed on February 29, 2012. On February 27, 2012 the Arizona Supreme Court denied petitioner's stay of execution motion and the Ninth Circuit holds that Moormann has exhausted his claims. The lower court reasoned that Moormann did not "show a significant possibility of success of the merits" because (1) he could not prove "intellectual disability by clear and convincing evidence;" and (2) he would be "entitled to habeas relief only if... the Arizona court violated clearly established federal law." Moormann presented evidence to the Arizona Supreme Court that "he is now mentally retarded and cannot be executed for that reason." The Ninth Circuit reasoned that there is no "clearly established federal law" that a person who was not "mentally retarded at the time of the crime or the trial may nevertheless be exempted from the death penalty pursuant to Atkins, because of subsequent mental deterioration." AFFIRMED and relief DENIED.

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