Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510, 29 (2003)

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Scalia, J., dissenting

stronger, and the State's evidence in support of the death penalty far weaker, than in Williams, where we found preju-dice as the result of counsel's failure to investigate and present mitigating evidence. Id., at 399. We thus conclude that the available mitigating evidence, taken as a whole, "might well have influenced the jury's appraisal" of Wiggins' moral culpability. Id., at 398. Accordingly, the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

It is so ordered.

Justice Scalia, with whom Justice Thomas joins, dissenting.

The Court today vacates Kevin Wiggins' death sentence on the ground that his trial counsel's investigation of potential mitigating evidence was "incomplete." Ante, at 534. Wiggins' trial counsel testified under oath, however, that he was aware of the basic features of Wiggins' troubled childhood that the Court claims he overlooked. App. 490-491. The Court chooses to disbelieve this testimony for reasons that do not withstand analysis. Moreover, even if this dis-belief could plausibly be entertained, that would certainly not establish (as 28 U. S. C. 2254(d) requires) that the Maryland Court of Appeals was unreasonable in believing it, and in therefore concluding that counsel adequately investigated Wiggins' background. The Court also fails to observe 2254(e)(1)'s requirement that federal habeas courts respect state-court factual determinations not rebutted by "clear and convincing evidence." The decision sets at naught the statutory scheme we once described as a "highly deferential standard for evaluating state-court rulings," Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U. S. 320, 333, n. 7 (1997). I respectfully dissent.


Wiggins claims that his death sentence violates Strickland v. Washington, 466 U. S. 668 (1984), because his trial attor-

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