"But Peter Capaldi isn’t attractive-"
"But Peter Capaldi isn’t attractive-"
The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act protects millions of Americans each year from death by suicide bombers, who are dissuaded by American traditions such as capital punishment, and from dangerous murderers and rapists who could easily escape the confines of secure housing units via due process. No case illustrates this more clearly than Cullen v. Pinholster, a nobly-decided death penalty case from California that upholds the AEDPA and fully recognizes Congress’ daring goals of keeping inmates from claiming they have the same procedural rights as law-abiding Americans.
Take the facts, for example, which deems this lawsuit clearly frivolous. Pinholster alleges that he received ineffective assistance of counsel (“IAC”), due to the fact that his attorney failed to mention that he had epilepsy and brain damage when he was being sentenced. The errors in Pinholster’s presumptions are manifold; firstly, he makes the foolish mistake of believing that American juries would actually take mental disability into consideration, and secondly, he fails to recognize the effort his counsel put into his case. Billing records showed that two months before the hearing, counsel billed an entire six hours into Pinholster’s defense argument. I’d like to repeat that: six hours. Six hours is enough time to marathon half a season of Archer. You could bake four cakes consecutively in six hours. Those are six hours Pinholster owes to his counsel, because goodness knows his lawyer will never get the time they sunk into a hopeless case back. Furthermore, by starting two months in advance, his counsel went well above and beyond the standards of their profession as public defenders, who typically slap their death penalty cases together over the course of a weekend. His counsel even limited herself to only comparing Pinholster to Hitler once. Her conduct is simply unassailable.
Under a Strickland v. Washington analysis, the burden of proof lies on the inmate to prove that their counsel ineffectively assisted them, in order to preserve the reputations that lawyers sunk many thousands of dollars and years climbing the career ladder to create. To jeopardize a lawyer’s career over something as trifling as the concerns of some low-life junkie would be an absolute miscarriage of justice. Contrary to popular opinion, lawyers have feelings too, and ineffective assistance of counsel claims are extremely stressful for them. To further protect lawyers from the tribulations of IAC claims, the inmate must prove that not only was counsel deficient, but also that this had a significant outcome on the trial, and under Harrington v. Richter, the court reviewing the claim must be highly deferential to counsel’s judgement. Lawyers, even the ones who end up as mere public defenders, tend to have good judgment, because the top law schools in the country require an essay about it.
When analyzing an IAC claim under Strickland, an inmate may be granted an evidentiary hearing by the state court to see what exactly they think their counsel erred in. If the state finds against the inmate, the inmate can continue to waste taxpayer money appealing first up to the state Supreme Court, and then to federal courts under habeas corpus (a review of the case to determine if the detention is valid), where the federal court may grant an evidentiary hearing to ascertain more information. Cullen v. Pinholster takes the bold stand that the federal court’s findings in their evidentiary hearing are basically apocryphal, because in determining that a state court’s decision was unreasonable, the federal court may only consider what was brought up during the state evidentiary hearing. Details of an inmate’s life are boring, and there’s no reason such trivial matters should factor into a federal court’s decision; after all, if the information was important, a competent attorney would have brought it up all the way back at trial, since facts never come to light after trial and expert witnesses never disagree about anything.
Most importantly, however, and on a national scale, the holding in Pinholster reaffirms federalist principles, such as allowing states like Arizona to assert their considerable wisdom over their populace. The state of Arizona thanks you, Supreme Court. The people of Arizona, and of every state across the nation, thank you. By giving deference to state courts, we allow them to enshrine their procedural errors into people’s lives and keep the justice system from letting the bad guys walk away. Furthermore, we save the taxpayers from greater federal expenditures, which is of utmost importance when weighed against the lives of drug addicts.
Justices Sotomayor, Kagan and Ginsburg dissented, proving only that bitches be crazy.