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Name: Daire v. Lattimore
Case #: 12-55667
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 03/15/2016

State court did not unreasonably apply Strickland v. Washington (1984) 466 U.S. 668 when it concluded defense counsel did not render ineffective assistance at sentencing by failing to present available mitigating evidence. Although Daire’s trial counsel was aware she suffered from treatable bipolar disorder, he did not argue that it was a mitigating factor during the sentencing hearing and Daire received a life Three Strikes sentence. Daire’s state habeas petitions asserting ineffective assistance were denied. She filed a federal habeas petition, which the district court also denied. Daire appealed. Held: Affirmed. Under the AEDPA, federal habeas relief may be available if the state court unreasonably applied federal law. Here, the state court did not unreasonably apply Strickland in adjudicating Daire’s claim. Although Daire’s attorney failed to raise her treatable bipolar disorder as a mitigating factor, she did raise a number of other mitigating factors including Daire’s poverty, advanced age, the inconsequential nature of her criminal record, the fact she had been violently abused, and that she suffered from seizures and substance addiction. “Given the litany of mitigating factors presented at sentencing, it was reasonable for the state court to conclude that counsel had satisfied her constitutional obligation to Daire.” Furthermore, counsel’s decision not to refer to Daire’s bipolar diagnosis might have been strategic because the psychological report discussing her bipolar disorder also contained other damaging evidence, including that she was prone to manic fits of violence. Under the circumstances, the state court did not unreasonably apply Strickland and Daire is not entitled to federal habeas relief.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: