Sun. Nov 29th, 2020
Darren Chaker article habeas corpus

California habeas corpus petition was filed, Darren Chaker blogs about where the Ninth Circuit decided a Defendant is not entitled to federal habeas relief where state court finding that he did not unequivocally invoke his right to an attorney, was not an unreasonable application of federal law. In 1999 Sessoms and two others committed a homicide during a Sacramento robbery. He fled to Oklahoma City, where he was arrested. Sacramento police traveled to Oklahoma City to interrogate him. Before receiving Miranda warnings, Sessoms asked whether there was any possible way he could have a lawyer present. He said his father told him to get a lawyer. The police affirmed he had a right to counsel and read him his rights. Sessoms thereafter confessed. The state appellate courts affirmed the trial court’s denial of Sessoms’ motion to suppress his statement, finding neither of Sessoms’ statements were sufficiently clear such that a reasonable officer would understand he was requesting counsel. He was convicted of murder.

Darren Chaker article habeas corpus
Darren Chaker reviews federal habeas corpus

AEDPA limits the federal court’s review of state court opinions. Under 28 U.S.C. section 2254(d), a writ of habeas corpus will only be granted where the state court decision “was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of,” Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court, or where it is based on an unreasonable determination of the facts. The Ninth Circuit noted that neither party challenged the state court’s use of the legal standard set forth in Davis v. U.S. (1994) 512 U.S. 452, to determine whether Sessoms invoked his right to counsel. The court found that Davis was limited to postwaiver statements and is therefore not “clearly established Federal law” in Sessoms’ case. Without Davis, the court was unable to locate any Supreme Court precedent for determining whether Sessoms invoked his right to counsel in a prewaiver contest. It therefore evaluated the claim under the Edwards v.Arizona (1981) 451 U.S. 477, standard — that an accused must have “actually invoked his right to counsel.”


Although Sessoms’ statements raise a close question under Edwards, the state court finding did not constitute an error “well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fair-mind disagreement” as required by AEDPA. Further, officers were not required to ask clarifying questions before proceeding with their interrogation. There is no Supreme Court authority requiring such action and Sessoms’ reliance on federal law to that effect is unavailing. State courts are not bound under AEDPA by federal cases other than precedent established by the Supreme Court.

By Darren Chaker

Greetings - I am Darren Chaker. I litigated a cutting edge First Amendment case for 7 of its 10 year lifespan. Chaker v. Crogan, 428 F.3d 1215 C.A.9 (Cal.),2005, Cert. denied, 547 U.S. 1128, 126 S.Ct. 2023, invalidated a statute on First Amendment grounds and overruled the California Supreme Court‘s unanimous decision in People v. Stanistreet, 127 Cal.Rptr.2d 633. Soon after Chaker v. Crogan, it was also used to strike down Nevada's analogous statute forcing the legislature to rewrite the law and used as the backbone authority in Gibson v. City of Kirkland, 2009 WL 564703, *2+ (W.D.Wash. Mar 03, 2009). My case is a leading case on viewpoint discrimination. In a recent case, Chaker v. Crogan was used to vindicate people who filed a complaint against police. Those people were arrested and charged with a law Chaker v. Crogan invalidated! They sued for being arrested and charged with an unconstitutional statute, Penal Code 148.6. The federal court denied the City's motion to dismiss and the case settled. See Cuadra v. City of South San Francisco, 2010 WL 55875, *1+ (N.D.Cal. Jan 04, 2010) I love the fight and made cutting edge case law in the end. No doubt without the support of the ACLU (Ramona Ripston, Mark Rosenbaum, Peter Eliasberg, & Dan Tokaji) winning on appeal, and Joshua Rosenkranz assembling a small army of the best attorneys to defeat the California Attorney General's efforts to have the U.S. Supreme Court reverse the Ninth Circuit---this case would not have had a backbone to stand on. The case has been cited over 196 times as authority, and written about extensively. * Police Misconduct: Law and Litigation s 2:28, Denial of First Amendment rights (2009) * Smolla & Nimmer on Freedom of Speech s 3:11, Viewpoint discrimination--Cross-burning reprised: Commonwealth of Virginia v. Black--Heavy presumption against viewpoint discrimination (2010) * Smolla & Nimmer on Freedom of Speech s 10:22.50, Brandenburg v. Ohio: Intent and imminence standard--Bond and Watts decisions--"True threats" (2010) * CHAKER V. CROGAN, 5 Cardozo Pub. L. Pol'y & Ethics J. 425, 444+ (2007) My case is active, living and breathing—forever helping people who once felt oppressed.

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