On Thursday, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in Shuman v. Spencer, a habeas corpus case in which a man convicted of double homicide is seeking a new trial, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The appellant, Robert Shuman, claims his trial lawyer failed to raise the defense that he killed two business associates because his ingestion of Zoloft caused a drug-induced state of agitation called akathisia.
Shuman was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder in a Massachusetts state court in 1999 for shooting the business associates in 1997. The court denied Shuman’s motion for a new trial in 2004. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts denied his appeal in 2005.
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