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9th Circuit Vacates Habeas Denial in Shooting Case

Guillory v. Allen Docket: 19-55290, Opinion Date: July 1, 2022. Petitioner-appellant Jemere Guillory was convicted in California state court of multiple offenses arising from an investigation into a shooting in San Diego. In Guillory’s direct appeal of his conviction, the state appellate court rejected his argument that his Sixth Amendment right to a public trial had been violated by the alleged exclusion of his family members from the courtroom during jury selection. In subsequent state habeas proceedings, Guillory sought to re-raise this claim, but with new evidence consisting of declarations from two family members who had been excluded from the courtroom, as well as his own declaration. The state court of appeal denied his petition on the state law grounds that it was untimely and that his public trial claim had previously been raised and rejected on the merits. Guillory then sought federal habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, but the district court denied the petition. According to the district court, Guillory’s procedural default in his state habeas petition barred any federal review of his Sixth Amendment public trial claim. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the augmented version of Guillory’s public trial claim presented in his state habeas petition was procedurally defaulted, but the same could not be said of the properly exhausted public trial claim that Guillory presented on his direct appeal in state court. The Court therefore vacated the district court’s order and remanded for further proceedings.


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