Oral argument: Oct. 12, 2010
Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Aug. 10, 2009)
HABEAS CORPUS, EXPERT TESTIMONY, AEDPA
Joshua Richter, convicted of murder, alleged that he received inadequate assistance from his attorney at trial. Richter argued that his attorney should have presented expert testimony concerning a blood splatter at the crime scene, which could have corroborated his version of the events. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed with Richter and granted his request for habeas corpus relief. Kelly Harrington, the prison warden, claimed that Richter did not receive inadequate counsel and that the California Supreme Court’s earlier summary disposition denying habeas corpus relief should be upheld. The Supreme Court’s decision in this case will determine the level of deference that should be granted to lower court orders, such as summary dispositions, which could discourage lower courts from issuing such orders in the future.