Melvin T. Brunetti

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Melvin T. Brunetti
Judge of United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
In office
April 4, 1985 – November 11, 1999
Nominated by Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Herbert Young Cho Choy
Succeeded by Johnnie Rawlinson
Personal details
Born (1933-11-11)November 11, 1933
Reno, Nevada
Died October 30, 2009(2009-10-30) (aged 75)
Reno, Nevada
Spouse(s) Gail

Melvin T. Brunetti ((1933-11-11)November 11, 1933 – October 30, 2009(2009-10-30)) was a United States federal judge.

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Born in Reno, Nevada, Brunetti was in the United States Army National Guard from 1954 to 1956, and then received a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in 1964. He was in private practice in Reno, Nevada from 1964 to 1985. He was a member of the Council of Legal Advisors to the Republican National Committee from 1982 to 1985.

Federal judicial service[edit]

On February 26, 1985, Brunetti was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated by Herbert Young Cho Choy. Brunetti was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 3, 1985, and received his commission on April 4, 1985. He assumed senior status on November 11, 1999.

Brunetti died on October 30, 2009 in Reno, Nevada.[1]

Notable cases[edit]

Brunetti's notable cases include:

  • Osborne v. District Attorney's Office for the Third Judicial District, 423 F.3d 1050 (9th Cir. 2005), after remand, 521 F.3d 1118 (9th Cir. 2008), reversed, 129 S. Ct. 2308 (2009). Brunetti held that an Alaska inmate's section 1983 action for post-conviction access to DNA evidence was not barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), and, after remand, that due process conferred a right of access to the evidence. The Supreme Court later reversed 5-4 on the due process issue;[2]
  • Harris v. Vasquez, 949 F.2d 1497 (9th Cir. 1990). Brunetti upheld the murder conviction and death sentence of Robert Alton Harris on habeas review;[2] and
  • Adamson v. Ricketts, 789 F.2d 722, 735 (9th Cir. 1986) (en banc) (dissenting), reversed, 483 U.S. 1 (1987). Dissenting from the en banc majority, Brunetti wrote that double jeopardy did not bar the defendant's prosecution for first degree murder in connection with a bombing in Phoenix, Arizona. The Supreme Court subsequently reversed the majority opinion.[2]



  1. ^ "Appeals Court Judge Brunetti Dies". KOLO TV. 2009-11-02. 
  2. ^ a b c Court of Appeals Mourns Loss of Senior Circuit Judge Melvin T. Brunetti; United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit, Public Information Office, News Release, November 2, 2009.

External links[edit]