Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ryan v. Valencia Gonzales

Habeas relief: no indefinite stay for incompetence: 18 U. S. C. §3599(a)(2); Section 3599 does not provide a state prisoner a right to suspen­sion of his federal habeas proceedings when he is adjudged incompe­tent; the assertion of such a right lacks any basis in the provision’s text. Section 3599 guarantees federal habeas petitioners on death row the right to federally funded counsel, §3599(a)(2), and sets out various requirements that appointed counsel must meet, §§3599(b)– (e), but it does not direct district courts to stay proceedings when pe­titioners are found incompetent. The assertion is also difficult to square with the Court’s constitutional precedents. If the Sixth Amendment right carried with it an implied right to competence, the right to competence at trial would flow from that Amendment, not from the right to due process, see Cooper v. Oklahoma, 517 U. S. 348, 354. But while the benefits flowing from the right to counsel at trial could be affected if an incompetent defendant is unable to communi­cate with his attorney, this Court has never said that the right to competence derives from the right to counsel. And the Court will not assume or infer that Congress intended to depart from such prece­dent and locate a right to competence in federal habeas proceedings within the right to counsel. See Merck & Co. v. Reynolds, 559 U. S. ___, ___; given the backward-looking, record-based nature of §2254 proceedings, counsel can generally provide effective representation to a habeas pe­titioner regardless of the petitioner’s competence. Rees I, supra, Rees v. Peyton, 386 U. S. 989, and Rees v. Superintendent of the Va. State Penitentiary, 516 U. S 802, which involved an incompetent death row inmate’s attempt to withdraw his certiorari petition, offer no support for federal habeas petitioners seeking to stay district court proceed­ings; a §2254 habeas proceeding is a civil action against a state-prison warden, in which the petitioner collaterally attacks his conviction in an earlier state trial; the District Court did not abuse its discretion in deny­ing a stay after finding that Gonzales’ claims were all record based or resolvable as a matter of law, regardless of his competence (U.S. S. Ct., 08.01.13, Ryan v. Valencia Gonzales, J. Thomas, unanimous).

Procédure de l'Habeas Corpus et capacité de discernement : pendant son procès pénal, l'accusé doit avoir une capacité de discernement suffisante pour pouvoir utilement organiser sa défense avec son avocat. Quant à elle, la procédure de l'Habeas Corpus, qui peut être introduite après la condamnation et pendant l'incarcération, n'implique pas qu'elle doive être automatiquement suspendue si le condamné ne présente pas de capacité de discernement suffisante. En effet, les questions posées pendant la procédure d'Habeas peuvent être des questions de droit uniquement, ou des questions qui tiennent à l'appréciation rétroactive du dossier. L'avocat peut dans ces hypothèses défendre son client même s'il est sans discernement. Le droit d'être au bénéfice d'un discernement suffisant ne découle pas du droit à être représenté par un avocat.

No comments:

Post a Comment