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Docket No.: 10-930
Certiorari Granted: Mar 19 2012
Argued: October 9, 2012
Decided: January 8, 2013


Assistance of Counsel, Death Penalty, Due Process, EPA, Sixth Amendment, abuse of discretion, habeas, habeas corpus, ineffective assistance of counsel, jury selection, murder

PartyNames: Charles L. Ryan, Director, Arizona Department of Corrections v. Ernest Valencia Gonzales
Petitioner: Charles L. Ryan, Director, Arizona Department of Corrections
Respondent: Ernest Valencia Gonzales

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Citation: 623 F.3d 1242
Supreme Court Docket
Supreme Court Observer Blog Post for RYAN v. GONZALES

Charles L. Ryan, Director, Arizona Department of Corrections
Ernest Valencia Gonzales
Question Presented:

Several years after Gonzales's counsel initiated federal habeas proceedings and filed an exhaustive petition seeking relief, counsel asserted that Gonzales was incompetent to communicate rationally and the proceedings should be indefinitely stayed pending possible restoration of competency. Based on 18 U.S. C. § 3599(a)(2), the Ninth Circuit agreed, even though Gonzales's claims were record-based or purely legal. Did the Ninth Circuit err when it held that 18 U.S.C. § 3599(a)(2)-which provides that an indigent capital state inmate pursuing federal habeas relief "shall be entitled to the appointment of one or more attorneys"-impliedly entitles a death row inmate to stay the federal habeas proceedings he initiated if he is not competent to assist counsel?


October 9, 2012

Listen to Oral Argument in RYAN v. GONZALES
Holding: reversed
Vote: 9-0
For more coverage on RYAN v. GONZALES please see our blog posting.

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Case Documents

1Oral Argument Audio
2Oral Argument Transcript (PDF)
3Slip Opinion in RYAN v. GONZALES (Opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas)