APPELLATE & HABEAS LITIGATION: U.S. Supreme and Federal Court

NOTE: the links are to large mp3 files... please be patient while they load.

Harrington v. Richter, 10/12/2011
562 U.S. ___, 131 S.Ct. 770
Defense counsel in this murder case promised the jury a theory of the case in opening statement, relied on that theory in closing argument, but did nothing to investigate it at any point. The substantive question presented in Harrington v. Richter was whether it was unreasonable for the state court to conclude without explanation that defense counsel’s failure to investigate his own theory of the case was proper.
listen to Cliff arguing before the Supreme Court in Harrington v. Richter
Monge v. California, 4/28/1998
524 U.S. 721
In Monge, the state charged defendant with the sale of marijuana. To enhance the sentence, the state also charged that defendant had suffered a prior conviction. At trial, the state presented insufficient evidence to prove the prior conviction allegation. The issue presented in Monge v. California was whether double jeopardy precluded the state from a second chance to prove its case on the prior conviction allegation.
listen to Cliff arguing before the Supreme Court in Monge v. California
Arave v. Creech, 11/9/1992
507 U.S. 463
The Idaho capital punishment statute purported to narrow the class of murder defendants eligible for the death penalty to those murderers who exhibited an “utter disregard for human life.” The question presented in Arave v. Creech was whether this limit was unconstitutionally vague in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
listen to Cliff arguing before the Supreme Court in Arave v. Creech


  • Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86 (2011)
  • Brown v. Sanders, 546 U.S. 212 (2006)
  • Coleman v. Calderon, 525 U.S. 141 (1998)
  • Monge v. California, 524 U.S. 721 (1998)
  • Tuilaepa v. California, 512 U.S. 967 (1994)(amicus briefing)
  • Arave v. Creech, 507 U.S. 463 (1993)
  • Bacigalupo v. California, 506 U.S. 802 (1992)(GVR)


  • Zumot v. Borders, 2020 WL 5232811 (N.D.Cal. 2020)
  • United States v. Tsarnaev, 968 F.3d 24 (1st Cir. 2020)
  • Smith v. Hedgpath, 706 F.3d 1099 (9th Cir. 2013)
  • Smith v. Mahoney, 611 F.3d 978 (9th Cir. 2011)
  • Richter v. Hickman, 578 F.3d 944 (9th. Cir. 2010)(en banc)
  • Hutchinson v. Hamlet, 2007 WL 1982191 (9th Cir. 2007)
  • Menendez v. Terhune, 422 F.3d 1012 (9th Cir. 2005)
    listen to Cliff arguing in Menendez v. Terhune
  • Pham v. Terhune, 400 F.3d 740 (9th Cir. 2005)
  • Chein v. Shumsky, 373 F.3d 978 (9th Cir. 2004)(en banc)(amicus)
  • Depetris v. Kuykendall, 239 F.3d 1057 (9th Cir. 2001)
  • Coleman v. Calderon, 210 F.3d 1047 (9th Cir. 2000)
  • Coleman v. Calderon, 150 F.3d 1105 (9th Cir. 1998)
  • Naddi v. Hill, 106 F.3d 275 (9th Cir. 1997)
  • Jeffers v. Lewis, 38 F.3d 411 (9th Cir. 1994)(en banc)
  • Wade v. Calderon, 29 F.3d 1312 (9th Cir. 1994)(amicus)
  • Creech v. Arave, 947 F.2d 873 (9th Cir. 1991)
  • Smith v. McCormick, 914 F.2d 1153 (9th Cir. 1990)
  • Coleman v. Vasquez, 771 F.Supp. 300 (N.D. Cal. 1991)