Last week the Tenth Circuit decided United States v. Fields, an appeal from the district court's denial of 28 U.S.C. 2255 relief in a federal capital case.
The Tenth Circuit held that the district court should not have dismissed the 2255 petition without an evidentiary hearing on Mr. Fields's claim that counsel's failure to pursue and present mitigating organic-brain-injury evidence constituted ineffective assistance of counsel. Given issues of fact with respect to both the performance and prejudice prongs of Strickland, the district court should have granted a hearing.
The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of Mr. Fields's other ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims.