Law: Guidelines from the Supreme Court

The Justices rule on lawyer competency and other matters

During ten days in September 1976, David Leroy Washington went on a bone-chilling crime spree across Dade County, Fla., that included torture, kidnaping and three murders. After turning himself in, Washington insisted on confessing to all three murders and pleaded guilty. His lawyer, William Tunkey, opposed the guilty pleas. But then, at the special sentence hearing required in capital cases, Tunkey offered no character witnesses, introduced no expert psychiatric evidence and requested no presentence report that might have been used to mitigate the punishment. Washington was condemned to death, and later appealed, arguing...

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