Starger on Kublicki

Colin Starger provides remarkable mapping of the authority relied on in the Court’s Kublicki opinion:

[T]he Kulbicki court does cite one 5-4 decision, 2005’s Rompilla v. Beard. Yet this too is a savvy rhetorical choice. In granting IAC relief, the Rompilla majority observed that failure to look at a file the prosecution says it will use is ineffective, unlike “looking for a needle in a haystack, when a lawyer truly has reason to doubt there is any needle there.” InKulbicki, the Court denies IAC relief and cites Rompilla for the affirmative propositionthat lawyers don’t have to look for needles. The message is: even in a close-call case not too long ago, the liberal majority agreed that lawyers don’t have to look for needles; that’s how today’s unanimous Court sees this case. One need not agree with the outcome in Kulbickito appreciate its doctrinal rhetoric.

Published by BGarrett

Professor of Law, Duke University

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