The US Supreme Court Monday denied certiorari in Andrus v. Texas; Justices Sotomayor, Breyer and Kagan dissented.
Andrus was charged with capital murder for killing two individuals during a failed carjacking. After his conviction and sentence were affirmed by the state appellate courts, Andrus filed a habeas application and alleged that his trial counsel was ineffective “for failing to investigate or present available evidence at the penalty phase.” However, the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas concluded Andrus failed to meet the applicable burden set in Strickland v. Washington.
In 2020, the Supreme Court examined Andrus’ case and determined that his counsel rendered constitutionally deficient performance under Strickland’s first prong. On remand, however, the Court of Criminal Appeals did not follow the Supreme Court’s ruling and decided against Andrus in a 5-4 decision.
Sotomayor wrote that “Andrus’ case cries out for intervention” and “it is particularly vital that this Court act when necessary to protect against defiance of its precedents.”