United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Habeas Corpus — ineffective assistance
Although a defendant’s attorney was ineffective for not hiring an expert witness, it was not unreasonable for state courts to find that the defendant was not prejudiced.
“The ineffectiveness of Martin’s defense counsel resulted in a significant trial error. But it is difficult to conceive of a defense that would have overcome the State’s remaining evidence. Martin has proposed none. Instead, he relies entirely on the potential effect of Busch’s testimony. As explained above, the omitted defense theory cannot carry the burden Martin desires. If the State had withdrawn Ogryzek’s testimony completely and stipulated to Busch’s account of the crime scene, a jury would still have had to contend with the overwhelming remainder of the State’s evidence. Under such circumstances, we cannot conclude that the state appellate court acted irrationally in finding ‘no reasonable probability that the omitted evidence would have changed the’ outcome. Strickland, 466 U.S. at 700; see also id. at 696 (‘[A] verdict or conclusion only weakly supported by the record is more likely to have been affected by errors than one with overwhelming record support.’).”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Mihm, J., Williams, J.