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The Kelley Institute
Law of Lawyering
Supreme Court Review

Cases tagged as: sixth amendment

Berghuis v. Thompkins

130 S. Ct. 2250 (2010) (PDF)

Petitioner brought a Sixth Amendment ineffective assistance of counsel claim for failure to ask for jury instructions. The court held that even if there was deficient performance, the petitioner could not show prejudice under de novo review.

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, prejudice, sixth amendment,

Bobby v. Van Hook

130 S.Ct. 13 (2009) (PDF)

State inmate (who had been sentenced to death) was held not to be entitled to federal habeas corpus relief on claim, under Federal Constitution's Sixth Amendment, of ineffective assistance of counsel during sentencing phase of trial. A decision not to seek more mitigating evidence was within the range of professionally reasonable judgments. Because the petition was filed before 1996 the stricter ABA standards for counsel in death penalty cases did not apply in assessing counsel's use of mitigation in sentencing portion of the trial.

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, prejudice, sixth amendment,

Boyer v. Louisiana

No. 11-9953, 2013 BL 112151 (U.S. Apr. 29, 2013) (PDF)

The Court initially granted cert to examine the defendant's right to a speedy trial where the indigent defendant required state counsel and where the court believed only issues of a lack of state funding for death penalty-qualified attorneys fees caused an almost seven year delay for trial. The court, however, dismissed 5-4 the writ of cert as improvidently granted (DIG) because of discovered other events that delayed trial, including defense continuance requests, Hurricane Rita, and pre-trial motions among others.

Related tag(s): 2012 Term, attorneys fees, due process clause, sixth amendment,

Chaidez v. U.S.

133 S. Ct. 1103 (2013) (PDF)

The Court held that the Court's decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, holding that criminal defendants receive ineffective assistance of counsel under the 6th Amendment when their attorneys fail to advise them that pleading guilty to an offense will subject them to deportation, does not apply retroactively to cases already final on direct review.

Related tag(s): 2012 Term, immigration, ineffective assistance of counsel, sixth amendment,

Christeson v. Roper

135 S. Ct. 891 (2015) (PDF)

When a death row inmate’s appointed attorneys had missed the filing deadline for his first federal habeas petition and could not be expected to argue that the inmate was entitled to equitable tolling of the statute of limitations, the district court abused its discretion in denying a motion for the appointment of substitute, conflict-free counsel.

Related tag(s): 2014 Term , attorney-client relationship, habeas corpus, ineffective assistance of counsel, right to counsel, sixth amendment,

Cullen v. Pinholster

131 S. Ct. 1388 (2011) (PDF)

The Court determined that counsel was not ineffective in failing to consult with an additional psychiatrist and more family members to produce sufficient mitigating evidence

Related tag(s): 2010 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, prejudice, sixth amendment,

Davis v. Ayala

135 S. Ct. 2187 (2015) (PDF)

Exclusion of Defendant’s attorney from part of an ex parte Batson hearing was harmless error. There was no basis for finding that the Defendant suffered actual prejudice.

Related tag(s): 2014 Term , attorney-client relationship, habeas corpus, right to counsel, sixth amendment,

Harrington v. Richter

131 S. Ct. 770 (2011) (PDF)

The Court reversed the Ninth Circuit's finding of ineffective assistance of counsel, where the defense attorney used cross-examination and other methods to create reasonable doubt rather than expert testimony and forensic evidence about the blood that was found at the murder scene.

Related tag(s): 2010 Term, academic amicus brief filed, attorney-client relationship, decision in favor of academic amicus brief, ineffective assistance of counsel, prejudice, sixth amendment,

Hinton v. Alabama

134 S. Ct. 1081 (2014) (PDF)

Claim of ineffective assistance of counsel was supported when defense counsel in a capital murder trial failed to seek additional funds to replace an inadequate expert when that failure was based not on any strategic decision, but rather on a mistaken belief that available funding was capped at $1,000. The Court vacated the judgment below and remanded the case for reconsideration of whether the attorney's deficient performance was prejudicial.

Related tag(s): 2013 Term, ABA amicus brief filed, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, legal advice, right to counsel, sixth amendment,

Jefferson v. Upton

130 S. Ct. 2217 (2010) (PDF)

On habeas corpus review of a claim by a state prison inmate who was under death sentence, the federal court held to have erred under the former version of 28 U.S.C.S. § 2254(d), by not fully considering all of the potentially applicable exceptions to statutory presumption of correctness.

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, attorney-client relationship, habeas corpus, ineffective assistance of counsel, sixth amendment,

Jennings v. Stephens

135 S. Ct. 793 (2014) (PDF)

A prisoner who sought federal habeas relief based on three theories of ineffective assistance of counsel and prevailed in the district court on two of them is not required to file a cross-appeal in order to urge an alternative ground for relief or seek a certificate of appealability on the third theory.

Related tag(s): 2014 Term , attorney-client relationship, habeas corpus, ineffective assistance of counsel, right to counsel, sixth amendment,

Kaley v. U.S.

134 S. Ct. 1090 (2014) (PDF)

Defendants were not entitled to challenge grand jury’s probably cause determination, even when they claimed that protective order restraining their assets interfered with their ability to retain criminal defense counsel of their choice.

Related tag(s): 2013 Term, due process clause, right to counsel, sixth amendment,

Luis v. U.S.

Docket No. 14-419 (PDF)

Issues: Whether the pretrial restraint of a criminal defendant's untainted assets (those not traceable to a criminal offense) needed to retain counsel of choice violates the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.

Related tag(s): 2015 Term , right to counsel, sixth amendment,

Marshall v. Rodgers

133 S. Ct. 1446 (2013) (PDF)

Supreme Court held that petitioner’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel was not violated when state court failed to appoint an attorney to help him file a motion for new trial, given that petitioner had waived his right to an attorney on three previous occasions. The Ninth Circuit’s holding that respondent’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel was violated was not supported by clearly established federal law

Related tag(s): 2012 Term, right to counsel, sixth amendment,

Martel v. Clair

132 S.Ct. 1276 (2012) (PDF)

At issue here was whether a state death row prisoner is entitled to a new court-appointed lawyer when the first fails to pursue critical evidence (here exonerating DNA tests). The Court held that when evaluating motions to substitute counsel in capital cases under 18. U.S.C §3599, courts should employ the same “interests of justice” standard that applies in non-capital cases under §3006A. Regarding the District Court's denial of Clair's second request for new counsel, there was no abuse of discretion.

Related tag(s): 2011 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, prejudice, sixth amendment,

Martinez v. Ryan

132 S.Ct. 1309 (2012) (PDF)

In Martinez, the Court decided whether a criminal defendant had a right to effective assistance of first post-conviction counsel, specifically with respect to his ineffective-assistance-of-trial-counsel claim. They held that where, under state law, ineffective-assistance-of-trial-counsel claims must be raised in an initial-review collateral proceeding, a procedural default will not bar a federal habeas court from hearing those claims if, in the initial review collateral proceeding, there as no counsel or counsel in that proceeding was ineffective.

Related tag(s): 2011 Term, ABA amicus brief filed, attorney-client relationship, decision in favor of ABA amicus brief, ineffective assistance of counsel, prejudice, sixth amendment,

Padilla v. Kentucky

130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010) (PDF)

Counsel's alleged failure to correctly advise an alien legal permanent resident of United States, before he pleaded guilty to trafficking in marijuana, that this was deportable offense under Immigration and Naturalization Act provision (8 U.S.C.S. § 1227(a)(2)(B)(i)) held to be deficient assistance under Sixth Amendment.

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, ABA amicus brief filed, academic amicus brief filed, attorney-client relationship, decision in favor of ABA amicus brief, decision in favor of academic amicus brief, immigration, ineffective assistance of counsel, sixth amendment,

Porter v. McCollum

130 S. Ct. 447 (2009) (PDF)

Counsel's failure at a capital sentencing to present evidence of accused's mental health or mental impairment, family background, or military service held to be (1) ineffective assistance in violation of Sixth Amendment; and (2) prejudicial to accused.

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, prejudice, sixth amendment,

Premo v. Moore

131 S. Ct. 733 (2011) (PDF)

State prisoner--who, after confessing to fatal shooting, followed counsel's advice to plead no contest to felony murder in exchange for minimum sentence--was held to be not entitled to federal habeas corpus relief on claim of ineffective assistance in counsel's failure, before giving plea advice, to move to suppress confession.

Related tag(s): 2010 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, prejudice, sixth amendment,

Sears v. Upton

130 S. Ct. 3259 (2010) (PDF)

Petitioner was sentenced to death and brought a Sixth Amendment Ineffective assistance of counsel claim. The state court erred in its analysis of petitioner's Sixth Amendment claim since (1) the state court curtailed a more probing prejudice inquiry because it placed undue reliance on the assumed reasonableness of counsel's mitigation theory, and (2) the state court failed to apply the proper prejudice inquiry. A proper analysis of prejudice would have taken into account the newly uncovered evidence of petitioner's "significant" mental and psychological impairments.

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, sixth amendment,

Smith v. Spisak

130 S. Ct. 676 (2010) (PDF)

State prison inmate given death sentence held not entitled to federal habeas corpus relief on claims of penalty-phase (1) unconstitutional jury instructions allegedly allowing consideration of only unanimously-found mitigating factors; or (2) ineffective assistance of counsel in closing argument.

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, jury instructions, sixth amendment,

Trevino v. Thaler

133 S. Ct. 1911 (2013) (PDF)

The good cause exception recognized in Martinez v. Martin will apply when a state’s procedural framework, by reason of its design and operation, makes it unlikely that a defendant will have a meaningful opportunity to raise on direct appeal a claim that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance.

Related tag(s): 2012 Term, ineffective assistance of counsel, right to counsel, sixth amendment,

Wong v. Belmontes

130 S. Ct. 383 (2009) (PDF)

State prison inmate who had been sentenced to death for murder held not entitled to federal habeas corpus relief on claim, under Federal Constitution, of ineffective assistance of counsel during sentencing phase of trial as inmate could not establish prejudice under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984).

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, prejudice, sixth amendment,

Wood v. Allen

130 S. Ct. 841 (2010) (PDF)

Under § 2254(d)(2), the state court's finding that defendant's counsel made a strategic decision not to pursue or present evidence of defendant's mental deficiencies was not an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the state-court proceedings.

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, sixth amendment,

Woods v. Donald

135 S. Ct. 1372 (2015) (PDF)

Supreme Court held that attorney’s brief absence during testimony concerning other defendants was no per se ineffective assistance of counsel under United States v. Cronic.

Related tag(s): 2014 Term , attorney-client relationship, habeas corpus, ineffective assistance of counsel, right to counsel, sixth amendment,


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