Henderson v. Johnson

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 01-03-2013
  • Case #: 11-55249
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam; Circuit Judges Ikuta, Graber, and Bright
  • Full Text Opinion

Where a habeas petition contains both exhausted and unexhausted state habeas claims, a district court should dismiss the petition with leave to amend. If requested, a district court should also consider the petitioner’s eligibility for a stay of the whole petition or unexhausted claims.

Henderson filed timely state and federal habeas petitions after her conviction for two counts of murder became final. The district court dismissed Henderson’s federal habeas petition without leave to amend on the basis that it was “mixed,” in that it contained some claims that were unexhausted in her state habeas petition and others that were exhausted. The Ninth Circuit noted that while district courts “cannot adjudicate mixed petitions,” district courts should grant leave to amend mixed petitions to remove unexhausted claims. The Court also noted that a district court should “consider a petitioner’s eligibility for a stay” of the petition or claims upon request. Finally, the Court noted that all of Henderson’s state claims were now and exhausted, so the petition should be allowed to proceed. The Ninth Circuit held that the district court erred by not granting leave to amend a mixed habeas petition and by refusing to address the petitioner’s request for a stay. REVERSED and REMANDED.

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