Reversal of Capital Conviction Because Counsel Failed to Request Diminished Capacity Jury Instruction to Reflect Defendant's "Explosive Dyscontrol" from Chronic Drug Use Not Disturbed

Pirtle v. Morgan, 313 F.3d 1160 (9th Cir. 2002), cert. denied, Morgan v. Pirtle, 123 S. Ct. 2286 (2003); 71(47) U.S. Law Week 3756 (June 10, 2003)

Perhaps presaging its decision in Wiggins (described above), the Supreme Court declined to review a ruling of the Ninth Circuit that overturned a first-degree murder convic­tion for ineffective assistance of counsel in violation of the Sixth Amendment because defendant's attorney failed to request a dimin­ished capacity jury instruction. At trial, the defendant testified he ingested methamphet­amines, cocaine, and marijuana the night before the murder but was "coming down" three hours before the murder. Despite this evidence the drugs he used were wearing off three hours before the murder, defense counsel requested an intoxication instruction...

Found in DMHL Volume 23 Issue 1