Court Rejects Ineffective Assistance Claim

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a federal judge’s decision to deny an evidentiary hearing to a death-row inmate who refused to allow mitigating evidence at his trial.

A federal judge properly determined that Jeffrey Landrigan, who had petitioned for habeas relief, could not make out a colorable claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, according to the majority opinion in the 5-4 case.

Landrigan had refused to allow his lawyer to present evidence that he had been a good father and that his mother had abused drugs and alcohol. “I think if you want to give me the death penalty, just bring it right on,” he told the trial judge. “I’m ready for it.”

He was convicted for committing a murder after he escaped from prison, according to the majority opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas. The decision overturned a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in San Francisco.

Landrigan had been convicted for killing once before, according to Associated Press.

SCOTUSblog posted the decision, Schriro v. Landrigan.

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