Remand from the United States Supreme Court D.C. No.
David Hermansen, Law Office of Kurt David Hermansen, San
Diego, California, and Steven M. Klepper, Kramon &
Graham, P.A., Baltimore, Maryland, for Petitioner-Appellant.
D. Harris, Attorney General of California, Gerald Engler,
Chief Assistant Attorney General, Lance E. Winters, Senior
Assistant Attorney General, Xiomara Costello and Stephanie C.
Brenan, Deputy Attorneys General, Los Angeles, California,
Before: Stephen Reinhardt and Alex Kozinski, Circuit Judges,
and Ronald M. Whyte, [*] Senior District Judge.
remand from the United States Supreme Court, the panel
affirmed the district court's order denying habeas relief
to Tara Williams, who asserted that the trial court's
dismissal of a holdout juror during deliberations in her
California murder trial violated her Sixth Amendment rights.
panel reviewed the Sixth Amendment claim under the standard
set forth in AEDPA.
panel held that because the trial court's evidentiary
hearing focused on the issue of juror bias, not on the nature
of the jury's division, the process employed by the trial
judge was not contrary to, nor an unreasonable application
of, Supreme Court authority.
panel held that Williams is not entitled to habeas relief on
the theory that there is a reasonable probability the juror
was excused because of his views as to guilt or innocence,
where Williams has not cited any Supreme Court case imposing
the rule set forth in United States v. Symington,
195 F.3d 1080 (9th Cir. 1999) – that the dismissal of a
juror violates the Sixth Amendment when it is reasonably
possible that the impetus for the juror's dismissal came
from her position on the merits of the case – and the
panel is unaware of such a Supreme Court case.
panel held that the state appellate court's finding that
the juror was biased because he would not follow the law was
not an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of
the evidence presented in the state court proceeding. The
panel explained that the fact that the state appellate
court's finding may have departed from those of the trial
court is irrelevant.
Judge Reinhardt wrote that the state appellate court's
finding that the trial court dismissed the holdout juror for
being unwilling to follow the law was based on an
unreasonable determination of the facts and thus warrants
relief under AEDPA.
KOZINSKI, Circuit Judge:
deliberations in the California murder trial of Tara
Williams, the court dismissed a juror who was holding out for
acquittal. An alternate juror was seated, and the jury
convicted. We consider whether Williams is entitled to habeas
relief on the ground that the dismissal of the holdout juror
violated her Sixth Amendment rights.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
fall of 1993, Williams drove two of her friends around Long
Beach, casing stores for a potential robbery. Williams
eventually stopped at a liquor store. While Williams and her
infant son waited in the car, her two friends went inside,
murdered the store owner and robbed the cash register of $6
and food stamps. Williams was later charged with felony
the jury retired, the foreman sent a note claiming that one
juror had "expressed an intention to disregard the
law." Judge Richard R. Romero and counsel questioned
Juror 6, who admitted he had discussed jury nullification and
the severity of the charge during deliberations. Judge Romero
then questioned the other jurors, many of whom reported that
Juror 6 had exhibited an unwillingness to follow the law
because he disagreed with the felony murder rule and with the
principle of vicarious liability. After hearing brief
arguments from each side, Judge Romero said: "I'm
going to dismiss [Juror 6], but not because he's not
deliberating and not because he's not following the
law." Although Judge Romero stated that Juror 6 was
"dismissed without any question in my mind as a biased
juror, " he also stated that "not following the law
is not a basis for his dismissal." Judge Romero found
that Juror 6 was biased because he was dishonest, was
concerned with the severity of the charge and was
"add[ing] his own words to the court's instructions
as to what the law is." The judge then seated an
alternate and the jury convicted the following day. Williams
was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of
argued on direct appeal that the dismissal of Juror 6
violated both her Sixth Amendment rights and the state
statute governing juror dismissals. See Cal. Penal
Code § 1089. The California Court of Appeal affirmed and
the Supreme Court of California denied review. Williams