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Stankewitz v. Ayers

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


August 15, 2008

DOUGLAS RAY STANKEWITZ, PETITIONER,
v.
ROBERT L. AYERS, JR., WARDEN OF SAN QUENTIN STATE PRISON, RESPONDENT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Anthony W. Ishii Chief United States District Judge

DEATH PENALTY CASE

Order Granting Petitioner's Motion to Expand the Record (Doc. 581)

Petitioner Douglas Ray Stankewitz ("Stankewitz"), seeks to expand the record with documents, lodged in these proceedings, which his experts have relied upon in formulating their opinions. See Doc. 443 (Jointly Filed Documents) and Docs. 556-59 and 561 (Supplemental Documents). Stankewitz asserts that the experts' opinions about his childhood and family relationships, as well as his mental health and substance abuse problems, are highly relevant to the resolution of the remaining claim, and that it would benefit both the Court and counsel to include the documents upon which the experts relied as part of the record.

The Warden objects to this expansion of the record, contending the vast majority of the documents are already in the record, and that any new documents are of little or no relevance to the sole issue remaining before the Court. The Warden submits the documents would simply clutter up the record, and the vast bulk of them are already in the record, primarily in the files of first trial counsel Sciandra. Habeas Rule 7 grants a district court the discretion to expand the record with additional materials which are relevant to the petition. Rule 7 (a) of Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. The rule is intended to help district courts "clarify the relevant facts." Vasquez v. Hillery, 474 U.S. 254, 258 (1986). The court may order the record expanded either in place of, or in addition to, holding an evidentiary hearing. See Advisory Committee Note to Habeas Rule 7; Harris v. Nelson, 394 U.S. 286, 300 (1969).

The Jointly Filed and Supplemental Documents are admissible under Rule 7, as they were relied on by Stankewitz's experts in forming their opinions. The Court will rely on Stankewitz to direct attention to the pages he contends should be considered in the analysis of the remaining issue, and will provide the Warden with an opportunity to comment on those specific pages prior to making any determination about their credibility. Stankewitz's request to expand the record with the documents relied on by his experts is GRANTED.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20080815

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