Breaking News :

Cullen v. Pinholster

Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term
09-1088 9th Cir. Nov 9, 2010
Tr.Aud.
Apr 4, 2011 7-2 Thomas OT 2010

Holding: Review under the federal habeas law is limited to the record that was before the state court which ruled on the claim on the merits. Moreover, on the record that was before the state court, Pinholster was not entitled to federal habeas relief.

Plain English Holding: When an inmate challenges his state death sentence on the grounds that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to present adequate mitigating evidence, a federal habeas court may only consider the evidence the inmate presented in support of that claim in the state courts. The Ninth Circuit erred in concluding that, on the basis of the state record alone, the inmate was entitled to habeas relief on his ineffective assistance of counsel claim.

Judgment: Reversed, 7-2, in an opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas on April 4, 2011. The Chief Justice and Justices Scalia and Kennedy joined the decision in full; Justice Alito joined the decision as to all but Part II of the Court’s opinion; Justice Breyer joined the decision as to Parts I and II, and Justices Ginsburg and Kagan joined the decision as to Part II. Justice Alito filed a separate opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment; Justice Breyer also filed a separate opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part. Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion, which Justices Ginsburg and Kagan joined in part.

SCOTUSblog Coverage

Briefs and Documents

Merits Briefs

Amicus Briefs

Certiorari-Stage Documents

 
Share:
  • Featured Posts

  • Merits Case Pages and Archives

Term Snapshot
  • Videos see all

    Capture

    “I think always the humor was a means to an end. And the end is, to help folks who don’t live in this world understand why it matters.” Dahlia Lithwick covers the Supreme Court and writes about law more broadly for Slate.com.  In this six-part interview, Ms. Lithwick discusses law school, practicing law, and how […]

Awards
  • Peabody Award

    Peabody Award

    Awarded the Peabody Award for excellence in electronic media.

  • Sigma Delta Chi

    Sigma Delta Chi

    Awarded the Sigma Delta Chi deadline reporting award for online coverage of the Affordable Care Act decision.

  • National Press Club Award

    National Press Club Award

    Awarded the National Press Club's Breaking News Award for coverage of the Affordable Care Act decision.

  • Silver Gavel Award

    Silver Gavel Award

    Awarded the Silver Gavel Award by the American Bar Association for fostering the American public’s understanding of the law and the legal system.

  • American Gavel Award

    American Gavel Award

    Awarded the American Gavel Award for Distinguished Reporting About the Judiciary to recognize the highest standards of reporting about courts and the justice system.

  • Webby Award

    Webby Award

    Awarded the Webby Award for excellence on the internet.

  • Email Digest Sign-Up


  • Subscriptions



    RSS


    Twitter: Blog Staff Tweets


    Twitter: Each Blog Post, Tweeted