Murray v. Schriro

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 03-17-2014
  • Case #: 08-99013
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Rawlinson for the Court; Circuit Judges Bybee and Ikuta
  • Full Text Opinion

A denial of a 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus petition brought after April 24, 1996 to challenge a murder conviction and capital sentence will not be overturned where the petitioner’s claims fail to show the state court decision: “(1) was contrary to clearly established federal law as determined by the Supreme Court, (2) involved in an unreasonable application of such law, or (3) …was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the record before the state court” under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act.

Brothers Roger and Robert Murray were indicted for armed robbery and first degree murder. A jury convicted them on all charges, and the trial court found that the prosecution had proven multiple aggravating factors. The trial court levied a death sentence upon the brothers, and, on direct appeal, the Arizona Supreme Court affirmed. Roger then petitioned for post-conviction relief (PCR). The PCR court denied Roger relief, and he subsequently petitioned the Arizona Supreme Court for review. The Arizona Supreme Court granted review only on Roger’s claim that his aggravating factors deserved a jury determination, but ultimately denied relief. Next, Roger filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court, but later withdrew it. Finally, Roger filed a 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus petition with the federal district court, raising fifty-six claims, but he was again denied. The Ninth Circuit, reviewing the denial of Roger’s habeas petition, acknowledged that the denial would not be overturned where Roger’s claims failed to show that the state court decision: “(1) was contrary to clearly established federal law as determined by the Supreme Court, (2) involved in an unreasonable application of such law, or (3) …was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the record before the state court” under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. Employing this analysis, the panel affirmed the denial. Because the Arizona court decision that the small-town media coverage was not constitutionally prejudicial was not contrary to Supreme Court precedent, the panel held that the denial of relief was proper. Further, the panel held that the Arizona court’s conclusion that the prosecutor’s race-neutral reasons for excluding two Hispanic potential jurors via peremptory challenges was not an unreasonable application of Batson v. Kentucky, and the denial of relief was proper. AFFIRMED.

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