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Supreme Court Grants Cert in Two Habeas Cases, Including Follow-Up to Martinez v. Ryan

This morning, the Court granted certiorari in Trevino v. Thaler (No. 11-10189), and McQuiggin v. Perkins (No. 12-126).  In Trevino, the Court will decide whether petitioner should be permitted to raise his ineffectiveness of counsel claim for the first time in federal habeas proceedings, under the exception announced in Martinez v. Ryan, 132 S.Ct. 1309 (March 20, 2012).  In Perkins, the question presented is whether, under AEDPA, there is an actual-innocence exception to the requirement that a petitioner show an extraordinary circumstance that “prevented timely filing” of a habeas petition, and if so, whether there is an additional actual-innocence exception to the requirement that a petitioner demonstrate that “he has been pursuing his rights diligently."

As stated in Mr. Trevino's cert petition:

Undersigned counsel raised for the first time a claim under Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510 (2003), that trial counsel were ineffective for failing to investigate the extraordinary mitigating evidence in Mr. Trevino's life. The federal proceeding was stayed to allow exhaustion, but the
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed Mr. Trevino's Wiggins claim under state abuse of the writ rules. Thereafter, the federal district court dismissed the claim as procedurally barred, finding no cause for the default. On appeal, Mr. Trevino argued that the Court of Appeals should stay further proceedings until this Court resolved the question then-pending in several cases whether ineffective assistance of state habeas counsel in failing to raise a meritorious claim of ineffective
assistance of trial counsel established cause for the default in state habeas proceedings. The Court of Appeals refused to stay Mr. Trevino's appeal for this purpose. Four months later, this Court decided in Martinez v. Ryan, 132 S.Ct. 1309 (March 20, 2012), that ineffective assistance of state habeas counsel in the very circumstance presented by Mr. Trevino's case could establish cause for the default of a claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. These circumstances present the following question:

Whether the Court should grant certiorari, vacate the Court of Appeals opinion,
and remand to the Court of Appeals for consideration of Mr. Trevino's argument
under Martinez v. Ryan?

For more on these cases see this SCOTUSblog post
 

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