1 last Supreme Court opinion: on IAC in a capital case

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Somewhat lost among the four opinions issued yesterday was a per curiam decision in Sears v. Upton (scroll down a few pages).  It's a must-read for those handling capital or habeas cases.  The Court finds that the lower courts erred in assessing the prejudice caused by counsel's failure to fully investigate and present mitigating evidence.  The trial court had found that the defendant could not demonstrate prejudice because some mitigating evidence was presented, despite the fact that the mitigation presented at trial was minimal, and the mitigation that was available but not presented was overwhelming.  "Although the [trial] court appears to have stated the proper prejudice standard, it did not correctly conceptualize how that standard applies to the circumstances of this case."  Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito would have not granted certiorari.  Justice Scalia authored a dissenting opinion that is joined by Justice Alito.

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This page contains a single entry by JoNell published on June 29, 2010 9:49 AM.

US Supreme Court issues final 4 decisions, closes term. was the previous entry in this blog.

Nevada Supreme Court issues 5 opinions is the next entry in this blog.

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