On June 14, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Cullen v. Pinholster. In 1984, Scott Pinholster was convicted and sentenced to death for killing two men during a burglary in Los Angeles, California. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned Pinholster’s death sentence because of ineffectiveness of counsel since his lawyer did not give the jury evidence of Pinholster’s mental illness during the penalty phase of the trial. The appeals court said the evidence might have persuaded the jury to opt for a lesser sentence. The Supreme Court will review the lower court’s decision and decide whether Pinholster should receive a new sentencing hearing or whether his death sentence should be reinstated. The case will be heard in the Court’s next term beginning in the fall of 2010.

(“Court to decide whether to reinstate death penalty,” Associated Press, June 14, 2010; Cullen v. Pinholster, No. 09-1088). See also U.S. Supreme Court and Mental Illness.