Ruiz v. Stephens, No. 11-70011 (5th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Petitioner was convicted and sentenced to death for murder for remuneration. In this appeal, petitioner claimed that the court erred in determining that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals had denied his Wiggins claims on the merits rather than based on state procedural grounds. Petitioner appears to argue that there is a middle ground between the deferential standard necessitated by the state court's "on the merits" dismissal of his Wiggins claims and a finding that he had procedurally defaulted. The court explained that the Supreme Court has held that 28 U.S.C. 2254(d) applies even where the state court issues a summary denial without an accompanying statement of reasons. In this case, the court's holding that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed his petition on the merits necessarily triggered the deferential standard he faced under section 2254(d) when he returned six years later. Accordingly, the court denied petitioner's motion to withdraw the mandate.
This is a revision of a Previous Opinion originally issued on August 26, 2013.