Schriro v. Landrigan, No. 05–1575.

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtJustice THOMAS delivered the opinion of the Court.
Citation550 U.S. 465,167 L.Ed.2d 836,127 S.Ct. 1933,75 BNA USLW 4315
PartiesDora B. SCHRIRO, Director, Arizona Department of Corrections, Petitioner, v. Jeffrey Timothy LANDRIGAN, aka Billy Patrick Wayne Hill.
Docket NumberNo. 05–1575.
Decision Date14 May 2007

550 U.S. 465
127 S.Ct.
1933
167 L.Ed.2d 836
75 BNA USLW 4315

Dora B. SCHRIRO, Director, Arizona Department of Corrections, Petitioner,
v.
Jeffrey Timothy LANDRIGAN, aka Billy Patrick Wayne Hill.

No. 05–1575.

Supreme Court of the United States

Argued Jan. 9, 2007.
Decided May 14, 2007.




[127 S.Ct. 1934]Syllabus*

Respondent Landrigan refused to allow his counsel to present the testimony of his ex-wife and birth mother as mitigating evidence at his sentencing hearing for a felony-murder conviction. He also interrupted as counsel tried to proffer other evidence, and he told the Arizona trial judge he did not wish to present any mitigating evidence and to “bring on” the death penalty. The court sentenced him to death, and the sentence was affirmed. The state postconviction court rejected Landrigan's claim that his counsel was ineffective for failing to conduct further investigation into mitigating circumstances, finding that he had instructed counsel at sentencing not to present any mitigating evidence at all. Landrigan then filed a federal habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Exercising its discretion, the District[127 S.Ct. 1935]Court refused to grant him an evidentiary hearing because he could not make out even a colorable ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim. The en banc Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that Landrigan's counsel's performance fell below the standard required by Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674.

Held: The District Court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to grant Landrigan an evidentiary hearing. Pp. 1939 – 1944.

(a) The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 has not changed the basic rule that the decision to grant an evidentiary hearing is left to the district court's sound discretion, but it has changed the standards for granting federal habeas relief by prohibiting such relief unless a state court's adjudication “resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by [this Court],” § 2254(d)(1), or “was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding,” § 2254(d)(2). Because § 2254's deferential standards control whether to grant habeas relief, a federal court must take into account those standards in deciding whether an evidentiary hearing is appropriate. In deciding whether to grant an evidentiary hearing, a federal court must consider whether the hearing could enable an applicant to prove the petition's factual allegations, which, if true, would entitle the applicant to federal habeas relief. It follows that if the record refutes the applicant's factual allegations or

[550 U.S. 466]

otherwise precludes habeas relief, a district court is not required to hold an evidentiary hearing. Pp. 1939 – 1941.

(b) Contrary to the Ninth Circuit's reasoning, the District Court was well within its discretion to determine that, even with the benefit of an evidentiary hearing, Landrigan could not develop a factual record entitling him to federal habeas relief. Pp. 1940 – 1943.

(1) The Ninth Circuit concluded that the Arizona state courts' findings that Landrigan had instructed his counsel not to offer any mitigating evidence took Landrigan's sentencing colloquy out of context, amounting to an unreasonable determination of the facts. However, the colloquy's language plainly indicates that Landrigan told his counsel not to present any mitigating evidence, and the record conclusively dispels the Circuit's conclusion that Landrigan's statements referred to only his ex-wife's and birth mother's testimony. On that record, the state court's determination that Landrigan refused to allow the presentation of any mitigating evidence was a reasonable determination of the facts. Thus, it was not an abuse of discretion for the District Court to conclude that Landrigan could not overcome § 2254(d)(2)'s bar to granting federal habeas relief. That court was entitled to conclude that regardless of what information counsel might have uncovered in his investigation, Landrigan would have interrupted and refused to allow him to present it. Thus, it could conclude that because of his established recalcitrance, Landrigan could not demonstrate prejudice under Strickland even if granted an evidentiary hearing. Pp. 1940 – 1942.

(2) The Ninth Circuit also erred in finding two alternative reasons for its holding. It concluded that the Arizona courts' determination that Landrigan's claims were frivolous and meritless was an unreasonable application of this Court's precedent, based on the belief, derived from Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510, 123 S.Ct. 2527, 156 L.Ed.2d 471, that his last minute decision to block testimony could [127 S.Ct. 1936]not excuse his counsel's failure to do an adequate investigation before sentencing. However, this Court has never addressed a situation in which a client interferes with counsel's efforts to present mitigating evidence to a sentencing court. Thus, it was not objectively unreasonable for the Arizona postconviction court to conclude that a defendant who refused to allow any mitigating evidence to be presented could not establish Strickland prejudice based on his counsel's failure to investigate further possible mitigating evidence. The Ninth Circuit also found that the record does not indicate that Landrigan's decision was informed and knowing, or that he understood its consequences. This Court has never held that an “informed and knowing” requirement exists with respect to the decision not to introduce mitigating evidence. But even assuming such a requirement exists in this case, Landrigan cannot benefit from it. First, because he never developed

[550 U.S. 467]

his claim properly before the Arizona courts, § 2254(e)(2) barred the District Court from granting an evidentiary hearing on that basis. Second, his counsel told the sentencing court in Landrigan's presence that he had carefully explained to Landrigan the importance of mitigating evidence in death penalty cases and his duty as counsel to disclose mitigating factors for consideration. In light of Landrigan's demonstrated propensity for interjecting himself into the proceedings, it is doubtful that he would have sat idly by while counsel lied about such discussions. Third, it is apparent from Landrigan's statement to the sentencing court to bring on the death penalty that he clearly understood the consequences of telling the judge that there were no relevant mitigating circumstances. Pp. 1942 – 1943.

(c) The Ninth Circuit also erred in rejecting the District Court's finding that the poor quality of Landrigan's alleged mitigating evidence prevented him from making a colorable prejudice claim. Because most of the evidence that Landrigan now wishes to offer would have been offered by his birth mother and ex-wife had he allowed them to testify, and because the sentencing court had much of the evidence before it by way of counsel's proffer, the District Court could reasonably conclude that any additional evidence would have made no difference in the sentencing. Pp. 1943 – 1944.

(d) Even assuming the truth of all the facts Landrigan sought to prove at an evidentiary hearing, he still could not be granted federal habeas relief because the state courts' factual determination that he would not have allowed counsel to present any mitigating evidence at sentencing is not an unreasonable determination of the facts under § 2254(d)(2), and the mitigating evidence he seeks to introduce would not have changed the result. Pp. 1943 – 1944.

441 F.3d 638, reversed and remanded.

THOMAS, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and SCALIA, KENNEDY, and ALITO, JJ., joined. STEVENS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which SOUTER, GINSBURG, and BREYER, JJ., joined, post, p. 1944.


Kent E. Cattani, Phoenix, AZ, for Petitioner.

Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., Washington, DC, for Respondent.


Terry Goddard, Attorney General, Mary R. O'Grady, Solicitor General, Kent E. Cattani, Patricia Nigro, Assistant Attorney General, Phoenix, Arizona, for Petitioner.

Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., Ian Heath Gershengorn, Elaine J. Goldenberg, Scott B. Wilkens, Jessica Ring Amunson, Joshua M. Segal, Jenner & Block LLP, Washington, DC, Jon M. Sands, Dale A. Baich, [127 S.Ct. 1937]Sylvia J. Lett, Justin F. Marceau, Phoenix, AZ, for Respondent.

Justice THOMAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

[550 U.S. 468]

In cases where an applicant for federal habeas relief is not barred from obtaining an evidentiary hearing by 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2), the decision to grant such a hearing rests in the discretion of the district court. Here, the District Court determined that respondent could not make out a colorable claim of ineffective assistance of counsel and therefore was not entitled to an evidentiary hearing. It did so after reviewing the state-court record and expanding the record to

[550 U.S. 469]

include additional evidence offered by respondent. The Court of Appeals held that the District Court abused its discretion in refusing to grant the hearing. We hold that it did not.

I

Respondent Jeffrey Landrigan was convicted in Oklahoma of second-degree murder in 1982. In 1986, while in custody for that murder, Landrigan repeatedly stabbed another inmate and was subsequently convicted of assault and battery with a deadly weapon. Three years later, Landrigan escaped from prison and murdered Chester Dean Dyer in Arizona.

An Arizona jury found Landrigan guilty of theft, second-degree burglary, and felony murder for having caused the victim's death in the course of a burglary. At sentencing, Landrigan's counsel attempted to present the testimony of Landrigan's ex-wife and birth mother as mitigating evidence. But at Landrigan's request, both women refused to testify. When the trial judge asked why the witnesses refused, Landrigan's counsel responded that “it's at my client's wishes.”...

To continue reading

Request your trial
5760 practice notes
  • Moore v. Quarterman, Civil No. SA-03-CA-405-RF.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • December 20, 2007
    ...unreasonable; an "unreasonable" application is different from a merely "incorrect" one. Schriro v. Landrigan, ___ U.S. ___ ___, 127 S.Ct. 1933, 1939, 167 L.Ed.2d 836 (2007)("The question under the AEDPA is not whether a federal court believes the state court's determination was incorrect bu......
  • Almon v. Ryan, No. CV-12-00704-TUC-BGM
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Arizona
    • September 15, 2015
    ...of state courts' factual findings unless applicants rebut this presumption with 'clear and convincing evidence.'" Schriro v. Landrigan, 550 U.S. 465, 473-74, 127 S.Ct. 1933, 1940, 167 L.Ed.2d 836 (2007) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1)). Moreover, on habeas review, the federal courts must con......
  • Waterford v. Washburn, No. 3:19-cv-00651
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Tennessee
    • April 21, 2020
    ...obtaining relief than a de novo review of whether the state court's determination was incorrect. 455 F.Supp.3d 591 Schriro v. Landrigan , 550 U.S. 465, 473, 127 S.Ct. 1933, 167 L.Ed.2d 836 (2007) (citing Williams v. Taylor , 529 U.S. at 410, 120 S.Ct. 1495 ). Specifically, a federal court m......
  • Rhea v. Jones, Case No. 1:06-cv-41.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • November 26, 2008
    ...Williams, 529 U.S. at 410, 120 S.Ct. 1495. Objective reasonableness is "a substantially higher threshold." Schriro v. Landrigan, 550 U.S. 465, 127 S.Ct. 1933, 1939, 167 L.Ed.2d 836 Where the state court has not articulated its reasoning, the federal courts are obligated to conduct an indepe......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5745 cases
  • Moore v. Quarterman, Civil No. SA-03-CA-405-RF.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • December 20, 2007
    ...an "unreasonable" application is different from a merely "incorrect" one. Schriro v. Landrigan, ___ U.S. ___ ___, 127 S.Ct. 1933, 1939, 167 L.Ed.2d 836 (2007)("The question under the AEDPA is not whether a federal court believes the state court's determination was i......
  • Almon v. Ryan, No. CV-12-00704-TUC-BGM
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Arizona
    • September 15, 2015
    ...state courts' factual findings unless applicants rebut this presumption with 'clear and convincing evidence.'" Schriro v. Landrigan, 550 U.S. 465, 473-74, 127 S.Ct. 1933, 1940, 167 L.Ed.2d 836 (2007) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1)). Moreover, on habeas review, the federal courts must c......
  • Keenan v. Bagley, CASE NO. 1:01 CV 2139
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • April 24, 2012
    ...determination was incorrect but whether that determination was unreasonable--a substantially higher threshold." Schriro v. Landrigan, 550 U.S. 465, 473 (2007) (citing Williams, 529 U.S. at 410). The reasonableness of the application of a particular legal principle depends in part on th......
  • Waterford v. Washburn, No. 3:19-cv-00651
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Tennessee
    • April 21, 2020
    ...obtaining relief than a de novo review of whether the state court's determination was incorrect. 455 F.Supp.3d 591 Schriro v. Landrigan , 550 U.S. 465, 473, 127 S.Ct. 1933, 167 L.Ed.2d 836 (2007) (citing Williams v. Taylor , 529 U.S. at 410, 120 S.Ct. 1495 ). Specifically, a federal court m......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
4 books & journal articles
  • THE REASONABLENESS OF THE 'REASONABLENESS' STANDARD OF HABEAS CORPUS REVIEW UNDER THE ANTITERRORISM AND EFFECTIVE DEATH PENALTY ACT OF 1996.
    • United States
    • Case Western Reserve Law Review Vol. 72 Nbr. 3, March 2022
    • March 22, 2022
    ...and whether a district court can grant a habeas petitioner an evidentiary hearing in federal court. See, e.g., Schriro v. Landrigan, 550 U.S. 465, 479 (112.) 28 U.S.C. [section] 2254(d). (113.) Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 327 (2003) (quoting Duncan v. Walker, 533 U.S. 167, 178 (200......
  • Institutionalizing the Culture of Control
    • United States
    • International Criminal Justice Review Nbr. 24-4, December 2014
    • December 1, 2014
    ...510 U.S. 222 (1994)Schlup v. Delo, 513 U.S. 298 (1995)(continued)Zschirnt and Randol 339 Table A1. (continued)Schriro v. Landrigan, 127 S. Ct. 1933 (2007)Schriro v. Summerlin, 542 U.S. 348 (2004)Sears v. Upton, 561 U.S. ___ (2010)Shafer v. South Carolina, 532 U.S. 36 (2001)Shell v. Mississi......
  • Criminal Justice Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, 2006 Term
    • United States
    • Criminal Justice Review Nbr. 32-4, December 2007
    • December 1, 2007
    ...v. Lynaugh, 492 U.S. 302 (1989).Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128 (1978).Rita v. United States, 127 S.Ct. 2456 (2007).Schriro v. Landrigan, 127 S.Ct. 1933 (2007).Scott v. Harris, 127 S.Ct. 1769 (2007).Smith v. Texas, 127 S.Ct. 1686 (2007).Strickland v. Washington, 446 U.S. 668 (1984).Teague v......
  • Sword or Shield? A Systematic Review of the Roles FASD Evidence Plays in Judicial Proceedings
    • United States
    • Criminal Justice Policy Review Nbr. 24-4, July 2013
    • July 1, 2013
    ...pregnancy and childhood mental health outcomes: Longitudinal population-based study. Pediatrics, 123, e289-e296.Schriro v. Landrigan, 550 U.S. 465 (2007).Schuler v. Hudson, 2009 U.S. LEXIS 102737 (2009).Sood, B., Delaney-Black, V., Covington, C., Nordstrom-Klee, B., Ager, J., Templin, T., .......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT