February 24, 2014 United States Supreme Court opinion

Hinton v Alabama

Hinton was charged with murder. His trial attorney did not research the law on what funding was available for experts and thus failed to ask for additional funds to seek a better expert. Hinton was convicted and sentenced to death. His post-conviction relief petition was ultimately rejected on the grounds that the expert used at trial made the evidentiary points the proposed alternate experts would have made and thus no violation of Strickland occurred. The Court summarily reversed and remanded in a per curium opinion. It held that the trial counsel fell below the standard of competency required in Strickland because he failed to do even cursory legal research into the law on funding for experts. The court remanded the case to determine if the use of a less qualified expert who was not believed by the jury was prejudicial.

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