Cook v. Ryan

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 07-27-2012
  • Case #: 12-16562
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Callahan for the Court, Circuit Judges O’Scannlain and Graber
  • Full Text Opinion

When a state requires a petitioner to raise a trial ineffective assistance of counsel claim in collateral proceedings, a petitioner may establish cause for procedural default of this claim by demonstrating two things: “(1) ‘counsel in the initial-review collateral proceeding, where the claim should have been raised, was ineffective under the standards of Strickland v. Washington,’ and (2) ‘the underlying ineffective-assistance-of-trial-counsel claim is a substantial one, which is to say that the petitioner must demonstrate that the claim has some merit.’”

Cook sought habeas corpus review based on Martinez v. Ryan after the State of Arizona issued a death warrant with an execution date, and the district court denied his Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) motion for relief from judgment. Cook alleged that both his pretrial counsel and post-conviction relief were ineffective, and that Martinez v. Ryan required the court to excuse his procedural default because of ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC). Cook also sought a stay of execution to pursue his pretrial IAC claim. The Ninth Circuit noted that when a state requires a petitioner to raise a trial IAC claim in collateral proceedings, the petitioner may establish cause for procedural default of this claim by demonstrating two things: “(1) ‘counsel in the initial-review collateral proceeding, where the claim should have been raised, was ineffective under the standards of Strickland v. Washington,’ and (2) ‘the underlying ineffective-assistance-of-trial-counsel claim is a substantial one, which is to say that the petitioner must demonstrate that the claim has some merit.’” The Court explained that Martinez did not apply to Cook’s case because of his decision to represent himself during trial and sentencing, clarifying, “even assuming Martinez applies to this case, Cook has not raised a ‘substantial’ claim that his [pretrial counsel] was ineffective.” The Court concluded that Cook’s claim to Rule60(b)(6) relief also failed because “even if Cook otherwise could ‘show extraordinary circumstances’ justifying the reopening of a final judgment… the ground for this motion- Martinez- affords him no relief.” The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decisions to deny Cook’s Rule 60(b) motion and to deny Cook’s motion for a stay of execution. AFFIRMED and DENIED.

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