Smith v. Spisak
|Docket No.||Op. Below||Argument||Opinion||Vote||Author||Term|
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.
Plain English Summary:
Judgment: Reversed, in an opinion by Justice Stephen Breyer on January 12, 2010.
Briefs and Documents
- Brief for Petitioner Keith Smith, Warden
- Brief for Respondent Frank Spisak, Jr.
- Reply Brief for Petitioner Keith Smith, Warden
- Brief for the States of Pennsylvania, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Deleware, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming in Support of Petitioner
- Brief for Steven Lubet, Thomas A. Mauet, James W. McElhaney, John B. Mitchell, Laurence M. Rose, Faust F. Rossi, Jacob A. Stein, Herbert J. Stern, and Michael E. Tigar in Support of Respondent