Livaditis v. Davis, No. 14-99011 (9th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of the petition for habeas corpus relief challenging petitioner's capital sentence. Petitioner's conviction for first degree murder and related burglary and kidnapping counts stemmed from his armed robbery of a jewelry store. The panel agreed with, and followed, the district court's application of Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170 (2011), and based its decision only on the record before the California Supreme Court (including the trial court record) and did not consider the evidence presented in the federal court evidentiary hearing.
The panel held that there were reasonable grounds to support the denial of relief by the state court on petitioner's claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. In this case, the California Supreme Court did not unreasonably apply federal law by determining that counsel's performance was not constitutionally deficient for failing to investigate mitigation evidence regarding petitioner's mother and petitioner's mental impairments. Furthermore, petitioner was not prejudice by counsel's performance.