Dixon v. Ryan, No. 16-99006 (9th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of a petition for habeas corpus relief challenging petitioner's Arizona state murder conviction and death penalty. Applying deferential review under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), the panel held that the district court properly held that petitioner's Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel was not violated when his trial counsel elected not to challenge petitioner's competency to waive counsel, despite counsel's knowledge that he had a history of mental health issues; the district court properly concluded that petitioner's due process rights were not violated by the state trial court's failure to hold a competency hearing sua sponte; and the district court properly held that the Arizona Supreme Court's opinion concluding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying petitioner's final continuance motion was neither contrary to, nor an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law.
The panel expanded the certificate of appealability (COA) to include the question of whether petitioner's constitutional rights were violated at trial through use of restraints, but affirmed the denial of the writ on that issue. The panel declined to expand the COA further.