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Williams v. Ryan, No. 07-99013

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By FindLaw Staff on October 27, 2010 8:29 AM

Capital Habeas Matter

In Williams v. Ryan, No. 07-99013, a capital habeas matter, the court affirmed in part the denial of petitioner's habeas petition, holding that the trial court was not required to appoint a mental health expert at sentencing because the defendant did not make any showing that his mental state at the time of the murder was at issue by virtue of drug use.  However, the court reversed in part where 1) the Arizona courts had discretion as to the weight to be given petitioner's drug addiction, but erred by refusing to consider it at all unless he proved it was a factor in the crime; and 2) the trial court needed to conduct an in-court evidentiary hearing on petitioner's Brady claim challenging the conviction.

 

As the court wrote:  "Aryon Williams was convicted in Arizona state court in 1992 and sentenced to death for the first degree murder of his former girlfriend Rita DeLao, and for the later robbery and attempted murder of Norma Soto. The Arizona appellate courts upheld his convictions and sentence. See State v. Williams, 904 P.2d 437 (Ariz. 1995)."

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