Court holds that defendants must have adequate representation in mitigation hearings
On August 25, 2011, the U. S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to reverse the decision of the U. S. District Court in the case of Kelly Foust.
The court vacated Foust’s death sentence, and ordered a new sentencing hearing.
Judge Karen Nelson Moore explained in the court’s opinion that Foust’s trial lawyers’ near total failure to gather records and investigate the horrific circumstances of Foust’s life effectively deprived the trial court of the information it needed for a fair sentencing proceeding.
Even granting the “double deference” federal courts are required to afford the decisions of state courts in these matters, the decision of the Ohio courts denying Foust a new sentencing was not only wrong, it was unreasonably wrong and violated his constitutional rights.