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U.S. Supreme Court rules Texas death row inmate had an ineffective lawyer, orders new review
Washington, D.C.
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Terence Andrus
Terence Andrus

In a 6-3 opinion, the justices said Terence Andrus had ineffective assistance from his lawyer and that it was unclear if the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals properly considered whether that could have affected his sentence.

The U.S. Supreme Court has again ruled against Texas’ top criminal court in a death penalty case, the latest in the high court’s repeated dismissals of Texas decisions against death row inmates.

In a 19-page opinion on a 6-3 ruling Monday, the justices sent Terence Andrus’ case back to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for further review. They said the court must again examine whether the “abundant” amount of mitigating evidence not presented at Andrus’ trial should warrant a new punishment trial to decide if he should get lethal injection or life in prison without parole. Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas dissented.

Andrus was sentenced to death in 2012 for two 2008 shooting deaths in Fort Bend County during an unsuccessful carjacking attempt. Last year, the Court of Criminal Appeals rejected the trial court’s recommendation on appeal that Andrus get a new punishment trial because his lawyer failed to raise potentially sentence-changing evidence.

The Supreme Court ruling focused on the evidence that could have been used to sway the jury from a death sentence. This includes his mother’s drug addiction and prostitution, his role as caretaker for his siblings when his mother would disappear, his own drug use, multiple suicide attempts and a diagnosis of psychosis.

“During Andrus’ capital trial, however, nearly none of this mitigating evidence reached the jury,” the justices wrote. “That is because Andrus’ defense counsel not only neglected to present it; he failed even to look for it.”

The justices ruled that the work by Andrus’ lawyer, former Fort Bend County prosecutor James “Sid” Crowley, fell below what is legally reasonable representation. They sent Andrus’ case back to the Court of Criminal Appeals to make a determination on whether, with better legal representation, there is a “reasonable probability” that Andrus’ jury would have instead delivered a life sentence. Both factors must be met for a new trial to be granted based on a constitutional violation of effective assistance of counsel.

Tell me what his momma being a prostitution and drug addict have to do with a grown man killing 2 people while trying to steal their car. This thieving killer should have a needle in his arm already.
Posted by Ruth at 6/16/2020 11:36:15 AM

Excuses always some excuse for doing evil WHAT ABOUT THE VICTUMS if you do evil and murder some one what does your mother have to do with that what does your drug use have to do with it you are responsible for what you put in your body when I was a school resource officer I saw so many children allowed to get away with so much and the school administrators always made excuses they have a tuff life or there is to many young people in jail years later the result those same kids are now grown and in jail for serious crimes like murder because of excuses
Posted by Cracker lawson at 6/22/2020 3:45:32 PM

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