Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Supreme Court Rules Attorney Strategy On Murder Case Good Enough

The United States Supreme Court has ruled against a defendant who claimed that his attorney's failure to pursue a forensic examination of a pool of blood at the crime scene was ineffective assistance of counsel.  Joshua Richter was convicted of murder after shooting the victim in a robbery at the victim's house.  At no time did Richter's attorney ask for a forensic test of blood on the floor of the victim's house.  Richter claimed that a forensic test of the blood may have proven that the victim was killed in a crossfire and not shot as he slept on the couch.  The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the attorney should have done tests on the blood instead of simply depending on the testimony of an expert witness at trial.  In a unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court overturned the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and found that the lawyer was not incompetent for using a strategy that did not include blood evidence.  

The case is Harrington v. Richter, 09-587.

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