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Cooley v. Weinberger

518 F.2d 1151 (1975)

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Cooley v. Weinberger

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

518 F.2d 1151 (1975)

Facts

Doris Cooley (plaintiff) was married to Melvin Cooley. The couple lived in Iran, where Melvin worked as the sole wage earner. During an argument, Doris shot Melvin three times, killing him. Doris contended that Melvin had been intoxicated and attacked her and that the gun had been shot accidentally while the two were struggling. After a trial, Doris was convicted of willful homicide by an Iranian court. After serving a prison sentence in Iran, Doris returned to the United States and applied for Social Security benefits arising from Melvin’s death. An administrative-law judge heard evidence regarding the application. Doris contended her Iranian conviction did not comport with the requirements of due process, alleging that she was not permitted to consult with her attorney, did not receive Miranda warnings, was not permitted to post bail, was not indicted, and was not permitted to cross-examine witnesses, and that the prosecution was not required to prove her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. After analyzing the circumstances surrounding Doris’s conviction, the administrative-law judge denied Doris’s application for benefits under a regulation that forbade a person convicted of felonious and intentional homicide of a decedent from receiving benefits arising from the decedent’s death. The administrative-law judge found that Doris had been represented by an attorney of her choice, that the witnesses had been cross-examined by the judges, and that she had been tried and convicted in accordance with Iranian law and procedure. The appeals council upheld the denial of benefits. Doris then commenced suit in federal court seeking judicial review of the denial. The trial court upheld the denial of benefits. Doris appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McWilliams, J.)

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