Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510, 15 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

life history, both the Fourth Circuit and the Maryland Court of Appeals referred only to these two sources of information. See 288 F. 3d, at 640-641; Wiggins v. State, 352 Md., at 608- 609, 724 A. 2d, at 15.

Counsel's decision not to expand their investigation beyond the PSI and the DSS records fell short of the professional standards that prevailed in Maryland in 1989. As Schlaich acknowledged, standard practice in Maryland in capital cases at the time of Wiggins' trial included the preparation of a social history report. App. 488. Despite the fact that the Public Defender's office made funds available for the retention of a forensic social worker, counsel chose not to commission such a report. Id., at 487. Counsel's conduct similarly fell short of the standards for capital defense work articulated by the American Bar Association (ABA)—standards to which we long have referred as "guides to determining what is reasonable." Strickland, supra, at 688; Williams v. Taylor, supra, at 396. The ABA Guidelines provide that investigations into mitigating evidence "should comprise efforts to discover all reasonably available mitigating evidence and evidence to rebut any aggravating evidence that may be introduced by the prosecutor." ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Counsel in Death Penalty Cases 11.4.1(C), p. 93 (1989) (emphasis added). Despite these well-defined norms, however, counsel abandoned their investigation of petitioner's background after having acquired only rudimentary knowledge of his history from a narrow set of sources. Cf. id., 11.8.6, p. 133 (noting that among the topics counsel should consider presenting are medical history, educational history, employment and training history, family and social history, prior adult and juvenile correctional experience, and religious and cultural influences (emphasis added)); 1 ABA Standards for Criminal Justice 4-4.1, commentary, p. 4-55 (2d ed. 1982) ("The lawyer also has a substantial and important role to perform in raising mitigating factors both to the prosecutor initially and

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