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Rodney v. Filson

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

March 1, 2019

Kyle J. Rodney, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
Timothy Filson; Attorney General for the State of Nevada, Respondents-Appellees.

         OPINION

          Argued and Submitted December 21, 2018

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Nevada No. 3:13-cv-00323-RCJ-VPC Robert Clive Jones, Senior District Judge, Presiding

          Courtney B. Kirschner (argued), Assistant Federal Public Defender; Rene L. Valladares, Federal Public Defender; Office of the Federal Public Defender, Las Vegas, Nevada; for Petitioner-Appellant.

          Erin L. Bittick (argued), Deputy Attorney General; Adam Paul Laxalt, Attorney General; Office of the Attorney General, Carson City, Nevada; for Respondents-Appellees.

          Before: Ronald M. Gould and Marsha S. Berzon, Circuit Judges, and Rosemary Márquez, [*] District Judge.

         SUMMARY [**]

         Habeas Corpus

         The panel vacated the district court's denial of Nevada state prisoner Kyle J. Rodney's pro se 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus petition and remanded for the district court to conduct an analysis of the substantiality of Rodney's ineffective-assistance-of-counsel (IAC) claims pursuant to Martinez v. Ryan, 566 U.S. 1 (2012).

         Without allowing discovery, holding an evidentiary hearing, or engaging in a Martinez analysis, the district court found, in relevant part, that two of Rodney's IAC claims were procedurally defaulted.

         The panel rejected Respondent's argument that Rodney waived his argument that he can show cause and prejudice under Martinez to excuse his procedural default. The panel explained that because Rodney was not represented by counsel during his initial-review collateral proceeding, he need only show that his IAC claims are substantial in order to excuse the procedural default.

         The panel could not conclude on the present record that Rodney's IAC claims are meritless with respect to the deficient-performance prong of Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). As to whether the alleged deficient performance resulted in prejudice, the panel observed that the district-court record is limited, and that both parties refer extensively to medical records that were not before the district court. The panel concluded that the district-court record is insufficiently developed for it to conclusively evaluate the substantiality of Rodney's IAC claims, and that remand is therefore required.

         The panel wrote that on remand the district court may allow discovery upon a showing of good cause under Rule 6 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases, may hold an evidentiary hearing as warranted, and may consider medical records and any other evidence relevant to the issue of the substantiality of Rodney's IAC claims. The panel wrote that if the district court determines that the IAC claims are substantial and thus that the procedural default of the claims is excused under Martinez, then AEDPA deference will no longer apply and the claims will be subject to de novo review.

          OPINION

          ...


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