Hernandez v. Chappell

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The Ninth Circuit filed an order withdrawing the prior opinion and filed a new opinion affirming the district court's denial of habeas relief to petitioner's guilt-phase claims regarding his first degree murder convictions. The panel held that, although trial counsel was constitutionally deficient by failing to present a diminished capacity defense based on mental illness, petitioner did not suffer any prejudice. In this case, the evidence of petitioner's specific intent to rape and kill both victims was overwhelming when compared to the relatively weak diminished capacity evidence that counsel could have presented, but failed to present. The panel also held that trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to subpoena a specific witness nor was petitioner prejudiced. View "Hernandez v. Chappell" on Justia Law