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Crandell v. Bunnell

May 19, 1998

KENNETH CRANDELL, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
BILL J. BUNNELL, WARDEN; ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, RESPONDENTS-APPELLANTS.



Before: Harry Pregerson, Robert R. Beezer and Cynthia Holcomb Hall, Circuit Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Beezer, Circuit Judge:

FOR PUBLICATION

D.C. No. CV 90-6419-WJR

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California William J. Rea, District Judge, Presiding

Argued and Submitted

February 6, 1998

Pasadena, California

Opinion by Judge Beezer

SUMMARY

Crandell petitions for a writ of habeas corpus. He alleges that he was faced with an unconstitutional choice of incompetent counsel or no counsel at all. We previously held that Crandell's petition asserted facts sufficient to state a claim and remanded to the district court for an evidentiary hearing. Crandell v. Bunnell, 25 F.3d 754 (9th Cir. 1994) (per curiam). Crandell's claim was borne out at the evidentiary hearing and the district court granted the petition. The state timely appealed and issuance of the writ was stayed. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. S 2253, and we affirm. We remand with instructions to the district court so that the writ may issue.

I.

The facts underlying Crandell's petition are set forth in our earlier opinion, Crandell, 25 F.3d 754, and in the California Supreme Court's opinion, People v. Crandell, 760 P.2d 423, 427 (Cal. 1988). For our purposes here, we note the following facts. In July 1980, Kenneth Crandell was living with Ernest Pruett and his family. On the night of July 5, 1980, Ernest Pruett and Crandell engaged in an argument. Crandell shot and killed Ernest and Edward Pruett, Ernest's eldest son. On the following morning, Crandell attempted to rape Marie, Ernest's 15 year-old daughter.

On July 9, 1980, Deputy Public Defender Gordon was appointed to represent Crandell. On September 22, 1980, defendant appeared in state court to argue a number of pro se motions. The state trial Judge asked why Crandell was representing himself and Crandell replied that it was because he had not heard from Gordon in almost two months and that Gordon was "completely ineffective." Crandell's repeated motions to have alternative counsel appointed were denied.

Crandell represented himself at trial in state court and was convicted on January 5, 1982, of two counts of the first degree murder of Ernest and Edward Pruett, each with a special circumstance of multiple murder, one count of ...


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