781 F.3d 1076 (9th Cir. 2015), 09-99015, Medina v. Chappell

Docket Nº:09-99015, 09-99016
Citation:781 F.3d 1076
Opinion Judge:WARDLAW, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:TEOFILO MEDINA, JR., Petitioner-Appellant, v. KEVIN CHAPPELL, Warden, Respondent-Appellee. TEOFILO MEDINA, JR., Petitioner-Appellant, v. R. K. WONG, Respondent-Appellee
Attorney:Robert B. Amidon (argued), Tarzana, California, and Wayne C. Tobin (argued), Newbury Park, California; David L. Bernstein, Studio City, California, for Petitioner-Appellant. Holly D. Wilkens (argued), Supervising Deputy Attorney General; Gary W. Schons, Senior Assistant Attorney General; and Adri...
Judge Panel:Before: Sidney R. Thomas, Chief Judge, and Kim McLane Wardlaw, and Marsha S. Berzon, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge Wardlaw.
Case Date:March 26, 2015
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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Page 1076

781 F.3d 1076 (9th Cir. 2015)

TEOFILO MEDINA, JR., Petitioner-Appellant,

v.

KEVIN CHAPPELL, Warden, Respondent-Appellee.

TEOFILO MEDINA, JR., Petitioner-Appellant,

v.

R. K. WONG, Respondent-Appellee

No. 09-99015, No. 09-99016

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

March 26, 2015

Argued and Submitted, San Francisco, California: March 19, 2014

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. 2:94-CV-01892-RSWL, D.C. No. 2:97-CV-07062-RSWL. Ronald S.W. Lew, Senior District Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY[*]

Habeas Corpus / Death Penalty

The panel affirmed the district court's denial of Teofilo Medina, Jr.'s habeas corpus petitions challenging his murder convictions and two death sentences, one of which was imposed in Orange County, the other in Riverside County.

Affirming the district court's denial of the petition arising out of the Orange County case, the panel rejected Medina's contention that trial counsel's performance was deficient in his investigation and presentation of mitigation evidence relating to Medina's childhood, and held that Medina did not establish prejudice. The panel rejected Medina's contention that he is entitled to habeas relief because trial counsel provided ineffective assistance at the penalty phase by failing to obtain and present relevant mitigation evidence of Medina's possible mental and emotional impairments. The panel held that counsel performed deficiently by failing to object, during cross-examination of a doctor during the sanity phase, to the prosecutor's use of a study to remind the jury that people are capable of faking schizophrenia and fooling mental health workers. But the panel held that the failure to object was not prejudicial during the penalty phase, and that counsel's performance was not deficient with respect to the doctor's testimony at the sanity phase.

The panel explained that the Supreme Court's holding in Ryan v. Gonzales, 133 S.Ct. 696, 184 L.Ed.2d 528 (2013), that 18 U.S.C. § 3599(a)(2) does not provide a statutory right to competency in federal habeas proceedings, is not limited to post-AEDPA cases, but that the portion of the Gonzales opinion constraining the discretion of district courts to issue stays is inapplicable to pre-AEDPA petitions such as the Orange County petition. The panel concluded that the district court nonetheless acted within its discretion in denying Medina's request for a stay of his habeas proceedings due to his incompetency.

Affirming the district court's denial of the petition arising out of the Riverside County case, the panel rejected Medina's contention that counsel's failure to investigate Medina's psychiatric history during the competency phase of the trial, and his resulting failure to provide this information to the experts who evaluated Medina's competency, constituted ineffective assistance. Assuming without deciding that counsel performed deficiently by failing to investigate and present mitigation evidence at the penalty phase, and by failing to investigate a potential insanity defense, the panel denied relief because fairminded jurists could disagree as to whether any such deficient performance prejudiced Medina.

Robert B. Amidon (argued), Tarzana, California, and Wayne C. Tobin (argued), Newbury Park, California; David L. Bernstein, Studio City, California, for Petitioner-Appellant.

Holly D. Wilkens (argued), Supervising Deputy Attorney General; Gary W. Schons, Senior Assistant Attorney General; and Adrianne S. Denault, Deputy Attorney General, Office of the California Attorney General, San Diego, California; Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General of California; Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorney General; Office of the California Attorney General, San Francisco, California, for Respondent-Appellee.

Jon M. Sands, Federal Public Defender; Therese Day, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Phoenix, Arizona; Sean K. Kennedy, Federal Public Defender; Mark R. Drozdowski and C. Pamela Gómez, Deputy Federal Public Defenders, Los Angeles, California, for Amici Curiae the California Appellate Project, the Federal Public Defenders of the District of Arizona, Central District of California, Eastern District of California, District of Nevada, and the Federal Defender Services of Idaho.

Before: Sidney R. Thomas, Chief Judge, and Kim McLane Wardlaw, and Marsha S. Berzon, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge Wardlaw.

OPINION

Page 1080

WARDLAW, Circuit Judge:

Teofilo Medina, Jr., a California death row inmate, appeals the district court's denial of his petitions for a writ of habeas corpus. Medina killed four people in a month-long crime spree in 1984. For these murders, the California courts imposed two death sentences: one in Orange County, the subject of the habeas petition in No. 09-99015, and one in Riverside County, the subject of the petition in No. 09-99016. The Orange County proceedings became final first. Medina filed his federal habeas petition in the Orange County case before the effective date of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (" AEDPA" ). Medina's Riverside County petition was filed after the effective date and is therefore subject to AEDPA review.1

The petitions allege ineffective assistance of counsel at various phases of each trial, with a focus on claims of deficient performance at the penalty phases. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § § 1291 and 2253. Because counsel in the Orange County trial did not render deficient performance, and because the California Supreme Court could have reasonably concluded that any deficient performance in the Riverside County trial failed to prejudice Medina, we affirm the district court's orders denying Medina's habeas petitions. In addition, we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying a stay to determine Medina's competency while the Orange County petition was pending.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The factual circumstances of Medina's crimes are undisputed. Shortly after his August 1984 release from prison in Arizona, Medina returned to California. From October 13 through November 7, 1984, Medina engaged in a crime spree in Orange County, which included stealing a gun and holding up a drive-in dairy and two gas stations. At the location of each robbery, he shot and killed an employee of the business from which he stole. People v. Medina (" Medina I" ), 51 Cal.3d 870, 274 Cal.Rptr. 849, 799 P.2d 1282, 1287 (Cal.

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1990). During this same period, he committed a fourth robbery-homicide, this time at a gas station in Riverside County. People v. Medina (" Medina II" ), 11 Cal.4th 694, 47 Cal.Rptr.2d 165, 906 P.2d 2, 16 (Cal. 1995).

Medina was apprehended on November 7, 1984 after he attempted another robbery. During the course of that robbery, he shot at, but missed, two civilian witnesses. The witnesses gave police Medina's license plate number, and officers apprehended Medina at his sister's home. The evidence linking Medina to the crimes included the gun used in each of the crimes and his fingerprint on a bottle at the scene of one crime. Medina's sister found the gun in Medina's shaving kit. Bullets recovered from the murder victims matched the gun.

Medina's history of abuse as a child is relevant to his habeas claims. Declarations from family members describe Medina's troubled and troubling past. These declarations, obtained by habeas counsel, provide the details of the physical abuse Medina suffered growing up, details that were not obtained by trial counsel in either case. Medina was whipped by nuns while attending Catholic school, hit with a belt by his father to the point where the belt left marks, and hit by his mother with a tree switch, a belt, or her hand. In addition to his own physical abuse, Medina's father was an alcoholic who sometimes hit Medina's mother, and on one occasion chased her around the house with a knife.

Medina also suffered from numerous accidental injuries as a child. When Medina was born, the physician had to use forceps to facilitate the delivery, which left Medina with two black eyes and bruises on his head. Excessive anesthetization of Medina's mother may have exacerbated this trauma. At age 5 or 6, Medina fell and hit his head on a concrete floor, leaving a scar on his forehead. When he was 6 or 7 years old, he let his cousins use his head for target practice with BB rifles. One summer when the family was in Utah, Medina " fell into a river or a canal and almost drowned." As a boy, Medina spent hours assembling model airplanes in his room. When family members complained about glue fumes, Medina stuffed towels under his door to confine the fumes to his room. Finally, at age 14, Medina was hit by a car while riding a bicycle. His leg was badly broken, and several family members noticed that he became more violent afterwards. None of this information was uncovered by his trial attorneys.

Habeas counsel also discovered that Medina has a documented history of mental illness. During Medina's previous periods of incarceration in California and Arizona, Medina was diagnosed at least eleven times as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia or related conditions. From a young age, Medina talked to himself and would clench and unclench his fists when upset. He also pulled out all of his eyelashes when he was 11 or 12 years old. As an adult, Medina frequently made delusional references to being under surveillance, spied upon, and persecuted by neighbors and fellow inmates. Of the nineteen members of Medina's extended family, as many as four suffered from schizophrenia, and others may have had...

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