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Denial of Death-row Inmate's Petition for Habeas Relief Upheld

By FindLaw Staff on March 31, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Sneed v. Johnson, No. 07-3349, involved a challenge to the district court's denial of a death-row inmate's petition for habeas relief. 

As stated in the decision: "In the present case, Sneed's counsel produced 17 witnesses, including three psychological experts, at least some of whose testimony concerned Sneed's mental health and severely troubled childhood."

In rejecting defendant's ineffective assistance claim that his counsel failed to investigate a possibility that he suffered from brain damage, the court concluded that he has failed to show that the state court's application of Strickland was objectionably unreasonable.  Moreover, although the defendant may be right that the district court got the insanity-defense standard wrong, his claim is nonetheless meritless because he is wholly unable to prove prejudice. 

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