So, Habeas Corpus is a very complicated area of law. Spoon knew when he filed this it was a literal shot in the dark. But, had it worked/if it can work, and he would have the special circumstances dropped, it would take him from serving LWOP (Life sentence WithOut the possibility of Parole) to being resentenced/no longer LWOP eligible. Here is the complicated part, a lawyer who does this type of law can review the denial - on what grounds they denied, did the Attorney General oppose - or claim. His claims were 'time barred' which I'm guessing they will say based on if he ever filed a Habeas before, or on how many years it has been since he was sentenced if he didn't file at all. These bars are very hard to get around (process over justice). Also under the AEDPA (Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act) he now has one year from the remittur issuing in this decision to get a federal petition on file. He will need an attorney who understands the importance of this, because to get into the federal court and have standing, they will have to 'federalize the issues' he wrote this petition under and not miss the filing deadline. In other words, experience matters. What you are looking for is an attorney who does "Federal Habeas and Appeals" and is qualified to review the state proceedings so far, decide if he needs to file an Amended State Petition for anything Spoon missed in his original State Petition at the same time as filing a Federal Petition. Of course, it never hurts to ask if someone will help. We all know this is also a long shot as the press just revealed there are 352 men on death row, also in California, who have been waiting decades without attorneys for their Habeas and appeal cases and that is one of the main reasons for the delay in the death penalty and the reason the system is broken in California. The severity of the crimes are the same for LWOP and Death Row cases (capital crime cases are generally both LWOP and Death eleigible). Ask yourself if the State cannot find attorneys they are willing to pay for representing on these cases along with providing money for investigations largely due to the skill level required to handle them, how likely is it the 4000 men and women serving LWOP in California will find pro bono counsel? This is what Spoon is up against. But it is important, and more so now that his time is ticking to get a federal petition filed. If he doesn't, even if he has a cognizable claim, he can lose in the future for not having complied with the reguations/process. As in the case of Troy Davis when the USSC (United State Supreme Court) sent his case back to the 11th Circuit to determine the question of if Innocence Mattered, and Scalia/Thomas said . . . .it's a 'fool's errand' even if they determine it does, what does that get him? He's had process, he is time barred from further review. This is a man facing execution, and all they can talk about is even if he is innocent, he gets no review.
Written by Christine Thomas (a friend of Spoon)