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In re: Gonzales, No. 08-72188

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By FindLaw Staff on October 20, 2010 4:04 PM

In In re: Gonzales, No. 08-72188, a petition for a writ of mandamus to stay petitioner's district court federal capital habeas proceedings under Rohan ex rel. Gates v. Woodford, 334 F.3d 803 (9th Cir. 2003), the court granted the petition where, although petitioner's exhausted claims were record-based or legal in nature, he is entitled to a stay pending a competency determination.

As the court wrote:  "Ernest Valencia Gonzales seeks a writ of mandamus to stay his district court federal capital habeas proceedings under Rohan ex rel. Gates v. Woodford, 334 F.3d 803 (9th Cir. 2003). There, we held that when a capital habeas petitioner "raises claims that could potentially benefit from his ability to communicate rationally," id. at 819, his statutory right to counsel includes the right to competence during habeas proceedings. The district court denied Gonzales's motion for a competency determination under Rohan because "[Gonzales's] properly-exhausted claims are record-based and/or resolvable as a matter of law, irrespective of [his] capacity for rational communication with counsel," and therefore "cannot benefit from [his] personal input."

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