Justices Reinstate Arizona Death Sentence

     (CN) – The Supreme Court on Monday reinstated an Arizona man’s death sentence, saying the 9th Circuit skirted federal procedure when it stayed the convicted murderer’s execution.
     The 9th Circuit had stayed the execution of Edward Schad, an Arizona man convicted of murdering 74-year-old Lorimer “Leroy” Grove in 1978.
     Schad won a retrial and was again convicted and sentenced to death in 1985.
     The evidence showed that Schad had strangled Grove and stole his car, credit cards and jewelry. At the time, Schad had been on parole after serving 9 1/2 years for his role in the strangulation of a woman in Utah.
     Schad later argued, unsuccessfully, that his attorney failed to discover and present sufficient mitigating evidence at trial.
     The Supreme Court’s refusal to take up his appeal should have triggered the 9th Circuit to issue a mandate closing the appeal and transferring jurisdiction to another court, the high court said.
     But the 9th Circuit instead chose to reconsider its previous denial of a motion to vacate and remand in light of Martinez v. Ryan, in which the U.S. Supreme Court gave a different Arizona inmate a chance to belatedly argue ineffective counsel.
     Though the full federal appeals court rejected Arizona’s motion for a rehearing, eight judges dissented in two separate opinions. The state then turned to the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case.
     The high court on Monday found that the 9th Circuit abused its discretion by failing to issue the mandate.
     “And, by the time of the Ninth Circuit’s February 1, 2013, decision      not to issue its mandate, it had been over 10 months since we decided Martinez and nearly 7 months since respondent unsuccessfully asked the Ninth Circuit to reconsider its decision in light of Martinez,” the high court wrote in an eight-page, unsigned opinion.
     The justices vacated the 9th Circuit’s stay of execution and instructed it to “issue the mandate immediately and without any further proceedings.”

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