Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Dickinson v. Ryan

United States District Court, D. Arizona

July 12, 2018

Zane Dickinson, Petitioner,
v.
Charles L. Ryan, et al., Respondents.

          ORDER

          Honorable Deborah M. Fine United States Magistrate Judge.

         Zane Dickinson filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (“Petition”), challenging his convictions and sentences in Mohave County Superior Court. Because the Court has concluded that it is likely to recommend that Dickinson is entitled to relief under Martinez v. Ryan, 566 U.S. 1 (2012), the Court will order supplemental briefing on the merits of the Petition's ineffective assistance of trial counsel claim.

         Background.

         C.H. was run over by a truck and sustained multiple injuries. According to a witness, Dickinson drove the truck and injured C.H. deliberately because of a falling out they had had. Based on that theory of the case, Dickinson was indicted in Mohave County Superior Court for attempted second degree murder and other felonies.

         The case proceeded to trial where C.H. testified that when he and Dickinson had a confrontation at someone's house, Dickinson “was telling me he's going to kill me, and all this stuff, you know, and he cussed me and called me names.” (Doc 6-2 at 56:11-13) The homeowner testified that “they were both threatening each other” and he broke up the fight. (Doc. 6-2 at 94:12) Later, Dickinson told the homeowner “jokingly” that he was going to run over C.H. (Doc. 6-2 at 98:24, 110:19)

         C.H. testified that shortly thereafter, he was hit by a truck that he recognized at Dickinson's. (Doc. 6-2 at 56-60) C.H. testified that Dickinson smiled at him and the “next thing I know, he revved up his motor and he shot towards me. And I remember what happened. He hit the back of my bike, he had spun me all the way around about ten feet in the first. I landed on the dirt.” (Doc. 6-2 at 60:11-14) C.H. testified that he got up and then the truck hit his bike from behind and if the truck “would have turned two or three feet, he would have totally hit me; but he didn't do that.” (Doc. 6-2 at 61:8-10) C.H. testified that he “felt threatened, seriously threatened, because-because you know, at first I thought he was going to drive by, you what I mean; but the first time he clipped me and he had that look in his face like, you know, he was going to kill me, man, he was going to kill me, and I seen that on his face.” (Doc. 6-2 at 68-69)

         Dickinson did not testify, called no witnesses, and argued that this was a case of mistaken identity. During the discussion about jury instructions, conducted without the jury present, the Superior Court described attempted second degree murder to counsel as “conduct [that] will cause death or serious physical injury.” (Doc. 6-3 at 112:11-13) Later, the Judge told the lawyers, “I wouldn't be shocked if they didn't find [him guilty of attempted second degree murder]; but I believe there's sufficient evidence to allow the case to go forward on the charge of attempted second degree murder.” (Doc. 6-3 at 113:1-4) Subsequently, the Judge informed the parties that he had drafted the jury instruction.[1] (Doc. 6-3 at 127-129) As relevant here, the Dickinson's trial counsel did not object to the attempted second degree murder jury instruction. (Doc. 6-3 at 133-137)

         The Court read the following to the jury:

The crime of attempted second degree murder has three elements. In order to find the defendant guilty of attempted second degree murder, you must find that, number one, the defendant intentionally did some act; and number two, the defendant believed such act was a step in the course of conduct planned to culminate in the commission of the crime of second degree murder; and number three, the defendant did so with the mental state required for the commission of the crime of second degree murder.
It is not necessary that you find that the defendant committed the crime of second degree murder; only that he attempted to commit such crime.
The crime of second degree murder has the following elements: Number one, the defendant caused the death of another person; and number two, the defendant either, A, did so intentionally or, B, knew that his conduct would cause death or serious physical injury.

         (emphasis added). (Doc. 6-3 at 145:17-20)

         At the end of a three day trial in Mohave County Superior Court, a jury found Dickinson guilty of multiple felonies, including attempted second degree murder. (Doc. 6-3 at 211, Ex. E) Subsequently, Dickinson was sentenced to consecutive sentences totaling 14 years. (Doc. 6-4 at 21-26)

         On direct appeal to the Arizona Court of Appeals, Dickinson was represented by counsel who argued only that the attempted second degree murder jury instruction was incorrect as a matter of law. (Doc. 6-4 at 76, Ex. L) Because Dickinson's trial counsel had not objected to the jury instruction, the Court of Appeals reviewed for fundamental error. (Doc. 6-4 at 149, Ex. O at ¶ 10) Under fundamental error analysis, Dickinson had “the burden to establish that “(1) error exists, (2) the error is fundamental, and (3) the error caused him prejudice.” (Doc. 6-4 at 149, Ex. O at ¶ 10) First, the Court of Appeals concluded that the jury instruction was erroneous because, under Arizona law, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.