United States Second Circuit

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Gutierrez v. Smith, 10-4478

In defendant's petition for habeas relief from his conviction for depraved indifference murder, district court's denial of the petition as procedurally barred is reversed in part, as although the defendant's legal sufficiency of the evidence claim was procedurally defaulted, it is nonetheless cognizable on habeas review because there was a fundamental shift in New York's interpretation of its depraved indifference murder statute between the time of defendant's trial in 2001 and the time his conviction became final in 2005, and as such, the legal basis for a sufficiency challenge was not reasonably available to counsel at the time of trial, establishing "cause" for the failure to object.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 08/31/2012
  • Published 08/31/2012


  • Calabresi


  • United States Second Circuit