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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:This is an application for writ of habeas corpus filed pursuant to Article 11.071 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. HOLDING:Denied. The court addresses only why applicant’s first claim � that of ineffective assistance of counsel during the punishment phase of his trial � is without merit when gauged by the standards set out in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), and refined by Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510 (2003). The court distinguishes Wiggins. Kevin Wiggins was convicted of first degree murder, robbery and theft by a Maryland judge, and he then elected to be sentenced by a jury. During opening arguments of his sentencing hearing, Wiggins’ attorneys promised to present evidence of their client’s “difficult life.” However, during that hearing, they presented no evidence concerning his alcoholic mother, sexually abusive foster parents or any other mitigating circumstances. Instead, they focused wholly on (“‘retrying the factual case’ and disputing Wiggins’s direct responsibility for the murder.” The Supreme Court found their performance to be deficient, not because they failed to present the mitigating evidence that they had promised, but because they failed to investigate mitigating factors. In the present case, applicant’s attorneys did investigate their client’s background, and did present mitigating evidence, albeit only a minimal amount. During their investigation, they spoke with applicant’s family members, tracked down medical, psychological and school records, used expert witnesses and extensively interviewed applicant himself regarding potential mitigating evidence. Based on applicant’s unwillingness to openly discuss mitigating evidence, and “extraordinarily damaging information” his attorneys learned of during their investigation, they determined that the best sentencing strategy would be to present only the clinical, objective opinion of an expert witness. Other attorneys might have interviewed more potential witnesses or used a different strategy at sentencing, the court states, but, unlike the attorneys in Wiggins, ample evidence shows that their decision not to pursue such avenues was based on reasonable professional judgments supporting the limitations on investigation. “When an attorney opens Pandora’s box, he is not constitutionally required to examine each and every disease, sorrow, vice, and crime contained therein before quietly and firmly closing the cover.” OPINION:Cochran, J., delivered the opinion of the court in which Keller, P.J., Meyers, Price, Johnson, Keasler, Hervey and Holcomb, JJ., joined. Womack, J., concurs in the denial of relief.

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