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Capital Habeas, Government Benefits and Immigration Decisions

By FindLaw Staff on March 05, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Ninth Circuit decided one capital habeas case, one involving longshoremen's benefits, and another concerning an immigration law issue.

In Smith v. Mahoney, No. 94-99003, a capital habeas matter, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the denial of the petition, on the grounds that 1) although defense counsel inadequately investigated the facts of the case before allowing petitioner to plead guilty, petitioner did not establish that he was prejudiced by his lawyer's representation; 2) non-character, non-circumstance evidence need not factor into the constitutionality of a death sentence; and 3) petitioner failed to develop his claim of judicial bias sufficiently to warrant an evidentiary hearing.

In Lanuza v. Holder, No. 07-71943, a petition for review of the BIA's decision pretermitting petitioners' applications for special rule cancellation of removal under Section 203 of the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA), the court of appeals denied the petition where 1) the court lacked jurisdiction to determine petitioner's statutory eligibility for NACARA section 203 relief; and 2) the Immigration Jude did not violate petitioner's constitutional right to due process by depriving her of a full and fair hearing and a reasonable opportunity to present evidence on her behalf.

In Rhine v. Stevedoring Servs. of Am., No. 08-73370, a petition for review of a decision of the Benefits Review Board under 33 U.S.C. section 921(c) of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, the court of appeals denied the petition where 1) a reasonable mind could have concluded that the Pacific Maritime Association Average adequately represented petitioner's annual earning capacity; and 2) the availability of alternative employment was determined by reference to two criteria: the claimant's physical abilities and the economic availability of particular jobs in the market.

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