Chappell v. Ryan et al

Filing 19

ORDER granting Petitioner's 12 Motion for Order Precluding Defense Team from Contacting Victims (See Order for details). Signed by Judge Steven P. Logan on 7/21/15.(CLB)

Download PDF
1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 Derek Don Chappell, 9 10 11 Petitioner, vs. Charles L. Ryan, et al., 12 13 14 Respondents. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) No. CV-15-00478-PHX-SPL ORDER 15 Before the Court is Respondents’ motion seeking an order prohibiting members of 16 Petitioner’s legal team from contacting the victims in this case and directing that any such 17 contact be initiated through counsel for Respondents. (Doc. 12.) 18 In support of their request, Respondents cite provisions of state and federal law, 19 including A.R.S. § 13–4433(B), which provides that “[t]he defendant, the defendant’s 20 attorney or an agent of the defendant shall only initiate contact with the victim through 21 the prosecutor’s office,” and the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA), which gives state 22 crime victims in federal habeas cases “the right to be treated with fairness and with 23 respect for the victim’s dignity and privacy.” 18 U.S.C. § 3771(a)(8). Respondents 24 contend that protections offered under § 13–4433(B) are encompassed by the CVRA. 25 Petitioner opposes the motion, arguing that the provisions of § 13–4433(B) do not 26 apply in this federal case and are not necessary to protect the rights enumerated in the 27 CVRA. (Doc. 17.) In another capital habeas case, Sansing v. Ryan, No. 11-CV-1035- 28 PHX-SRB (D. Ariz.), the court considered and rejected these arguments. The court 1 ordered the petitioner to obtain consent through the respondents’ counsel before 2 contacting a victim and, in the event a victim did not consent, ordered briefing on the 3 applicability of Arizona’s victims’ rights laws. In denying the petitioner’s motion for 4 reconsideration of the order, the court explained that its “directive requiring Petitioner to 5 obtain consent from Respondents’ counsel to contact victims furthers the rights to dignity 6 and privacy set forth in § 3771(a)(8). It is a reasonable limitation that does not unfairly 7 disadvantage Petitioner.” (Id., Doc. 29.) 8 This Court agrees with the reasoning in Sansing. Whether or not § 13–4433(B) 9 directly applies to these proceedings, the mechanism it establishes furthers the goal of 10 respecting a crime victim’s dignity and privacy without unduly burdening Petitioner. 11 Accordingly, 12 IT IS ORDERED that Petitioner’s Motion for Order Precluding Defense Team 13 from Contacting Victims (Doc. 12) is granted. No person who is defined as a victim in 14 this matter pursuant to Arizona law shall be contacted by anyone working with or on 15 behalf of Petitioner or Petitioner’s counsel unless the victim, through counsel for 16 Respondents, has consented to such contact. If consent is not provided and Petitioner 17 nonetheless believes contact is necessary, Petitioner may file a motion with the Court 18 explaining the necessity for such contact and further addressing the applicability of 19 Arizona’s provisions governing the rights of victims. 20 Dated this 21st day of July, 2015. 21 22 Honorable Steven P. Logan United States District Judge 23 24 25 26 27 28 2

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?