Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Vaca v. Missouri[1]

Opinion handed down June 15, 2010
Link to Mo. Sup. Ct. Opinion

The Supreme Court of Missouri held that a criminal appellant’s defense counsel was constitutionally ineffective during the sentencing phase of a trial when he failed to consider calling a mental health expert to testify even though the counsel was apprised of the jury’s interest in appellant’s mental condition during the guilt phase. The court additionally held that the defense strategy of linking the defendant to a fourth robbery for which he had not been charged was reasonable, and, therefore, defense counsel was not constitutionally ineffective on this point. The court determined that appellant’s motion for post-conviction relief should have been granted in part. Ultimately the judgment was upheld in part, remanded in part, and reversed in part.