Echavarria v. Filson, No. 15-99001 (9th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of habeas relief to petitioner, who was convicted and sentenced to death for killing an FBI agent. The panel applied de novo review and held that an unrevealed connection between the FBI agent and the judge who presided over petitioner's trial violated due process by creating a constitutionally intolerable risk of judicial bias. In this case, the FBI agent had previously investigated the judge for possible criminal prosecution. The panel held that the risk of bias deprived petitioner of a fair tribunal to which he was constitutionally entitled.