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Criminal Procedure keyed to Kamisar
Strickland v. Washington
Citation:466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984)
Washington committed three groups of crimes involving murder. Washington admitted to the third of the criminal episodes. He was indicted and the court appointed counsel to represent Washington. Against counsel’s advice, Washington also confessed to the first two murders. By the time of trial, Washington was subject to indictment for three counts of first-degree murder and multiple other counts. Again, against counsel’s advice, Washington pleaded guilty to all charges.
To prepare for the sentencing hearing, counsel spoke with Washington, his wife, and his mother. However, he did not seek out character witnesses nor did he request a psychiatric examination. Instead, counsel decided to rely on Washington’s plea colloquy for evidence about Washington’s background and his claim of emotional stress.
The trial judge sentenced Washington to death on the three counts of murder and to prison terms for the other crimes. Washington sought collateral relief in state court, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel. Washington submitted 14 affidavits from friends, family, and neighbors stating that they would have provided favorable character evidence if asked. He also submitted a psychiatric report and a psychological report. The state court denied the ineffectiveness claim. Washington then sought federal habeas relief, again raising an ineffective assistance claim.
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