Wong v. Belmontes, 558 U.S. 15 (Nov. 16, 2009)

Even if counsel’s performance was deficient with regard to mitigating evidence in a capital trial, the defendant could not establish prejudice. Trial counsel testified that he presented a limited mitigating case in order to avoid opening the door for the prosecution to admit damaging evidence regarding a prior murder to which the defendant admitted but for which the defendant could not be tried. The defendant did not establish a reasonable probability that the jury would have rejected a capital sentence after it weighed the entire body of mitigating evidence (including the additional testimony counsel could have presented, some of which was cumulative) against the entire body of aggravating evidence (including evidence of the prior murder, which would have be admitted had counsel made a broader case for mitigation).