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Smith v. Spisak

Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term
08-724 6th Cir. Oct 13, 2009
Jan 12, 2010 TBD Breyer OT 2009

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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