Smith v. Spisak

Docket No.
Op. Below
Argument
Oct 13, 2009
Tr.
Opinion
Vote
TBD
Author
Breyer
Term

Holding: A defendant's 1983 conviction for the murder of three people was not illegal or unconstitutional. The Court rejected the defendant's assertion that the instructions given to the jury were unconstitutional, because they did not require the jury to unanimously find the existence of any mitigating factor, which a prior case, Mills v. Maryland, forbid. The Court also held that the defendant's lawyer was not so ineffective as to call the legitimacy of the verdict into question.

Judgment: Reversed, in an opinion by Justice Stephen Breyer on January 12, 2010.

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