LINO CHAVEZ V. MARK BRNOVICH, No. 21-15454 (9th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Petitioner challenged his conviction and sentence through the PCR proceeding because pleading defendants in noncapital cases in Arizona are prohibited from taking a direct appeal. The district court found that the Arizona Court of Appeals had incorrectly determined that Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), did not apply to Arizona’s of-right PCR proceedings. The district court also determined, on de novo review, that Arizona’s PCR procedure was deficient under Anders.
The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s grant of conditional habeas relief to Petitioner. The panel first explained that it was clearly established that Anders and its progeny apply to Arizona’s of-right PCR proceedings. Because the Arizona Court of Appeals’ decision can be construed as finding Anders applicable and nothing clearly suggests otherwise, and a federal habeas court must give the state court of appeals the benefit of the doubt and presume that it followed the law, the panel found that the Arizona Court of Appeals correctly found Anders applies to of-right PCR proceedings. The court, therefore, reversed the district court’s contrary determination. The court held that the district court also erred in reviewing de novo whether Arizona’s of-right PCR procedure is constitutionally adequate under Anders, and should have applied the required deference under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA).