The Supreme Court reaffirmed that criminal defendants have a right to effective assistance of counsel and also provided additional clarification about practices that constitute ineffectiveness.
Rompilla v. Beard expanded and clarified the principles of Strickland v. Washington
A Pennsylvania jury found Ronald Rompilla guilty of first-degree murder. At the sentencing phase, the prosecutor informed the jury of Rompilla’s previous convictions of assault and rape, which were aggravating factors. The jury sentenced him to death. Rompilla then obtained a new lawyer, who appealed the verdict with the argument that the earlier defense attorney had failed to present mitigating evidence that might have produced a different sentence. Although a district court rejected the argument, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Rompilla’s favor.
The Supreme Court agreed with the Third Circuit’s decision. Speaking for a 5-4 majority, Justice David H. Souter
Bill of Rights
Gideon v. Wainwright
Self-incrimination, immunity against