Morris v. Ryan et al
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)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA
Cory Deonn Morris,
Charles L. Ryan, et al.,
Pending before the Court is Petitioner Cory Deonn Morris’s motion to stay the
case and defer a ruling on his pending petition for writ of habeas corpus in light of the
United States Supreme Court’s grant of a writ of certiorari in Cruz v. Arizona, 142 S. Ct.
1412 (2022). (Doc. 73.)
“A district court has discretionary power to stay proceedings in its own court.”
Lockyer v. Mirant Corp., 398 F.3d 1098, 1109 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing Landis v. North
American Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254 (1936)). “A trial court may, with propriety, find it is
efficient for its own docket and the fairest course for the parties to enter a stay of an
action before it, pending resolution of independent proceedings which bear upon the
case.” Leyva v. Certified Grocers of California, Ltd., 593 F.2d 857, 863 (9th Cir. 1979);
see Lockyer, 398 F.3d at 1110–11 (explaining that a stay may be appropriate where the
resolution of issues in the other proceeding would assist in resolving the proceeding
sought to be stayed).
Morris asserts that the Supreme Court’s findings in Cruz may impact the
procedural and substantive allegations of three claims in his petition involving the
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.
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?