In a decision underlining its acceptance of the standard used by New York state courts to consider the effectiveness of defense counsel, a divided federal appeals panel has refused to order a new trial for a man serving 25 years to life for murder.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Rosario v. Ercole (pdf), 08-5521-pr, that a state judge did not unreasonably apply federal constitutional law when he rejected the claim of Richard Rosario that his lawyers had failed to property investigate his case or to call witnesses that would have helped prove his innocence.

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