Tuesday, March 24, 2009
The United States Supreme Court reversed and remanded a finding of ineffective assistance of counsel by the Ninth Circuit. Writing for the court, Justice Thomas concluded that that the defendant had not only failed to establish that the state court's rejection of the claim was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law, but that "he has not shown ineffective assistance at all." The claims were premised on counsel's recommendation to abandon an insanity defense in the sentencing phase of a murder trial after the jury had rejected the NGI as a defense in the guilt phase.
Six justices joined the full opinion. Justices Scalia, Souter and Ginsburg joined all but Part II of the opinion. (Mike Frisch)