Kirkpatrick v. Chappell, No. 14-99001 (9th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's dismissal of the petition for habeas relief based on lack of exhaustion claims. In this case, the district court dismissed claims challenging petitioner's murder conviction and death sentence, finding that, although he presented them to the California Supreme Court, he subsequently waived them by means of a handwritten, pro se filing. The panel held that there was insufficient evidence in the record to support a finding that petitioner's handwritten form constituted a valid waiver of his right to proceed and that the State failed to carry its burden to the contrary. Therefore, the district court erred by dismissing the claims as unexhausted and the court remanded so that the district court could adjudicate the claims on the merits.