Failure to investigate for sentencing can have an impact on a habeas corpus petition in Connecticut. You can learn more about failure to investigate on this page.
Failure to Investigate for Sentencing
The Sixth Amendment and Article First, § 8 also require defense counsel to investigate the defendant’s character, background and history, so as to identify and present at sentencing evidence that may mitigate the punishment. See State v. Binet, 192 Conn. 618, 631 (1984)(“…[t]o ‘mitigate’ an offense is to introduce proof which results in a ‘reduction of punishment.’” (citations omitted)). The failure to do so, in whole or in part, may constitute ineffective assistance of counsel under Strickland.
Also see Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 396 (2000)(“obligation to conduct a thorough investigation of the defendant’s background); Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510 (2003)(In addition, counsel’s failure to expand background investigation denied defendant effective assistance of counsel at sentencing); also see, e.g. Porter v. McCollum, 528 U.S. 30, 31(2009)(“Like the District Court, we are persuaded that it was objectively unreasonable to conclude there was no reasonable probability the sentence would have been different if the sentencing judge and jury had heard the significant mitigation evidence that Porter’s counsel neither uncovered nor presented. In addition, we therefore grant the petition for certiorari in part and reverse the judgment of the Court of appeals.” (original footnote omitted)).
Obligation to Investigate
Also remember, the obligation to investigate the defendant’s character, background and history for sentencing purposes does not require the same investigation in each case. In addition, see Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, , 131 S.Ct. 1388, 1406-07 (2011)(“Strickland itself rejected the notion that the same investigation will be required in every case”).
And in reviewing defense counsel’s investigation, the habeas court will determine whether counsel conducted a reasonable background investigation or made a reasonable decision that made conducting a background investigation unnecessary. See Cullen v. Pinholster , 563 U.S. at , 131 S.Ct. at 1407 (quoting parenthetically Strickland, 466 U.S. at 691).
Also, for further discussion on the deficiencies of counsel related to sentencing, see supra A. HABEAS CORPUS JURISPRUDENCE 1.b. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel at Sentencing.
If you are interested in filing a habeas corpus petition in Connecticut, it is a good idea to contact an attorney. A lawyer can tell you how to proceed and if failure to investigate for sentencing will impact your petition.