Petitioner was tried and convicted of first degree murder. At
sentencing, Petitioner's attorney decided to argue Petitioner's
innocence but instead focused on his low IQ and difficult
childhood. Despite this presentation, the jury sentenced
Petitioner to death. Petitioner appealed the decision to the
District Court of Maryland and argued that he received
ineffective assistance of counsel because his attorney did not
present his difficult past to the jury as mitigating evidence
during sentencing. The court agreed and vacated Petitioner's
death sentence. The Maryland Supreme Court reversed and found
that Petitioner's attorney had made an informed and strategic
decision that did not amount to ineffective assistance of
counsel. Petitioner then sought habeas relief in federal court.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held
that Petitioner's counsel did not rise to the level of
ineffective assistance. The opinion of the Fourth Circuit is
found at 288 F.3d 629.
To see the opinion of the lower court, click here.