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United States v. Barrett, 985 F.3d 1203 (10th Cir. Jan. 19, 2021)

Jan 19, 2021

In this postconviction proceeding, the Tenth Circuit considered whether the district court erred in analyzing the prejudice prong of the ineffective assistance of counsel inquiry under the Sixth Amendment.  Vacating the death sentence and remanding for resentencing, the Tenth Circuit held that defense counsel’s failure to present evidence of organic brain damage, bipolar disorder, and other mental impairments during the sentence phrase resulted in prejudice because, upon balancing the aggravating and mitigating factors, there was a reasonable probability that at least one juror would have declined to recommend the death sentence.