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Stanley v. Chappell

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

August 13, 2014

JERRY F. STANLEY, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
KEVIN CHAPPELL, Warden, Respondent-Appellee

Argued and Submitted, San Francisco, California: May 29, 2014.

Page 991

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. D.C. No. 2:95-cv-01500-JAM-CKD. John A. Mendez, District Judge, Presiding.

Appeal DISMISSED for Lack of Jurisdiction.

SUMMARY[*]

Habeas Corpus / Death Penalty

The panel dismissed for lack of jurisdiction a capital prisoner's appeal from the district court's order staying and holding in abeyance his federal habeas corpus proceeding pending exhaustion in state court of his challenge to state court holdings that a retrospective competency determination was feasible and that the petitioner was competent at the time of his penalty-phase trial.

The panel held that it lacked appellate jurisdiction because the district court's stay-and-abeyance order was not an appealable collateral order and was not appealable under Moses H. Cone Mem'l Hosp. v. Mercury Constr. Corp. as an order that put the petitioner effectively out of court. The panel declined to construe the appeal as a petition for a writ of mandamus.

Joseph Schlesinger (argued) and Tivon Shardl, Federal Public Defender's Office, Sacramento, California; Mark E. Olive, Law Offices of Mark E. Olive, P.A., Tallahassee, Florida, for Petitioner-Appellant.

Jesse N. Witt (argued), Deputy Attorney General, and Ward A. Campbell, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, Office of the California Attorney General, Sacramento, California, for Respondent-Appellee.

Before: William A. Fletcher, Richard C. Tallman, and Jay S. Bybee, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge W. Fletcher.

OPINION

Page 992

W. FLETCHER, Circuit Judge:

This is the second time this capital case has come before us. The first was an appeal from the district court's partial judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), denying all of petitioner Gerald F. Stanley's guilt-phase claims and deferring adjudication of his penalty-phase claims pending retrospective competency proceedings in state court. We affirmed the district court in all respects. Stanley v. Cullen, 633 F.3d 852 (9th Cir. 2011). Of particular importance here, we affirmed the district court's decision to remand to state court. Id. at 863-64.

On remand, California trial courts held that a retrospective competency determination was feasible and that Stanley was competent at the time of his penalty-phase trial. Stanley challenged these state court holdings in his federal habeas proceeding, which had been held in abeyance. The district court concluded that exhaustion of state remedies was a prerequisite to its review of Stanley's challenge. The district court stayed and held in abeyance ...


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