Cannedy v. Adams

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 02-07-2013
  • Case #: 09-56902
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Graber for the Court; Circuit Judge Lucero; Dissent by Circuit Judge Kleinfeld.
  • Full Text Opinion

A defendant is denied effective assistance of counsel in a lewd acts case where defense counsel fails to interview witnesses who can corroborate the defendant's claim that the victim had motive to make false accusations.

Petitioner, Earl Eugene Cannedy Jr. was convicted of lewd acts upon his stepdaughter and of attempting to dissuade her from reporting. After trial, Cannedy hired a new attorney and moved for a new trial based on ineffective assistance of counsel. Cannedy alleged that his previous lawyer failed to present witnesses who could have corroborated his stepdaughter’s motives for false accusations. The trial court denied the motion for a new trial. Cannedy appealed, petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus, and requested an evidentiary hearing to the California Court of Appeals which affirmed the convictions and denied the writ. Cannedy subsequently filed for review and petitioned for writ of habeas corpus to the California Supreme Court which summarily denied the writ and refused to grant review. Cannedy then petitioned the district court which held an evidentiary hearing and granted the writ of habeas corpus to which the state appealed. This Ninth Circuit held that they could not take into consideration any evidence submitted to the district court in the evidentiary hearing and that their review was limited to the record before the California Supreme Court under Cullen v. Pinholster. Since the California Supreme Court was a summary denial, the court looks through the last reasoned decision, which was that of the California Court of Appeals. Under the Strickland test a petitioner must show both deficient performance and prejudice in order to prevail on an ineffective assistance of counsel claim. The court stated that Cannedy received deficient performance because no competent lawyer would have declined to interview such a favorable witness and that this prejudiced him because had the evidence been admitted at least one juror would have found him not guilty. The court then held that the California Supreme Court unreasonably rejected the ineffective assistance claim based on the record before it. AFFIRMED.

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