Morris v. Ryan et al

Filing 74

ORDER - Morris's Unopposed Motion for Stay Pending Cruz v. Arizona (Doc. 73 ) is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED Morris must file a status report in this Court within 14 days of issuance of the Supreme Court's decision in Cruz. See document for complete details. Signed by Senior Judge David G Campbell on 9/15/2022. (WLP)

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1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Cory Deonn Morris, No. CV-17-00926-PHX-DGC Petitioner, 10 11 v. 12 Charles L. Ryan, et al., 13 DEATH-PENALTY CASE ORDER Respondents. 14 Pending before the Court is Petitioner Cory Deonn Morris’s motion to stay the 15 case and defer a ruling on his pending petition for writ of habeas corpus in light of the 16 United States Supreme Court’s grant of a writ of certiorari in Cruz v. Arizona, 142 S. Ct. 17 1412 (2022). (Doc. 73.) 18 “A district court has discretionary power to stay proceedings in its own court.” 19 Lockyer v. Mirant Corp., 398 F.3d 1098, 1109 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing Landis v. North 20 American Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254 (1936)). “A trial court may, with propriety, find it is 21 efficient for its own docket and the fairest course for the parties to enter a stay of an 22 action before it, pending resolution of independent proceedings which bear upon the 23 case.” Leyva v. Certified Grocers of California, Ltd., 593 F.2d 857, 863 (9th Cir. 1979); 24 see Lockyer, 398 F.3d at 1110–11 (explaining that a stay may be appropriate where the 25 resolution of issues in the other proceeding would assist in resolving the proceeding 26 sought to be stayed). 27 Morris asserts that the Supreme Court’s findings in Cruz may impact the 28 procedural and substantive allegations of three claims in his petition involving the 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 application of Simmons v. South Carolina, 512 U.S. 154, 162 (1994), which held that when future dangerousness is an issue in a capital sentencing determination, the defendant has a due process right to require that his jury be informed of his ineligibility for parole. In State v. Cruz, 251 Ariz. 203 (2021), the Arizona Supreme Court held that Lynch v. Arizona, 578 U.S. 613 (2016) (per curiam), which applied Simmons to Arizona capital sentencing, did not represent a significant change in Arizona law under Arizona Rule of Criminal Procedure 32.1(g). The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider whether that holding “is an adequate and independent state-law ground for the judgment.” Cruz, 142 S. Ct. 1412. Argument in Cruz has been scheduled for November 1, 2022. Morris also asserts that the Supreme Court’s decision in Cruz could open an avenue for relief in state court for Morris’s substantive Simmons claim, rendering his Simmons claim unexhausted for purposes of federal review and justifying a stay under Rhines v. Weber, 544 U.S. 269 (2005) (granting district courts discretion to stay habeas petitions with both exhausted and unexhausted claims for exhaustion of the latter). Respondents do not object to Morris’s request. Because the decision in Cruz may substantively or procedurally impact Morris’s claims and his ability to seek a stay and pursue state relief, and may therefore moot the issues before this Court, the Court finds good cause to stay this petition. The Court will order Petitioner to update the Court within 14 days of the Supreme Court’s order. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED Morris’s Unopposed Motion for Stay Pending Cruz v. Arizona (Doc. 73) is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED Morris must file a status report in this Court within 14 days of issuance of the Supreme Court’s decision in Cruz. Dated this 15th day of September, 2022. 26 27 28 -2-

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