Monday, June 20, 2005
From MSNBC.com: "The Supreme Court on Monday ordered a new trial for a Pennsylvania death row inmate in a 17-year-old murder case, ruling that his attorney was sloppy in failing to investigate possible evidence of mental retardation. In a 5-4 decision, justices ruled in favor of Ronald Rompilla, 56, who was convicted of robbing, stabbing and setting on fire a tavern owner in Allentown, Pa., in 1988. It was the second time in a week that the high court overturned a death row sentence, citing an inadequate trial."
Here is BNA.com's description: "Even when a capital murder defendant and his family have suggested that there is no available mitigating evidence, defense counsel has a duty to make reasonable efforts to obtain and review material that the attorney knows prosecutors will probably rely upon as aggravating evidence at trial.
Decision in Rompilla v. Beard, No. 04-5462 here. [Mark Godsey]