Rainwater Law Group

Effective Criminal Defense

Mahrt v. Beard, No. 15-16404 [March 1, 2017]

Mahrt v. Beard

Mahrt alleged that his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel was violated by his trial counsel’s failure to move to suppress the firearms and ammunition found in his room. The State argued that Mahrt’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim is not cognizable on federal habeas review because it rest upon an alleged constitutional violation that preceeded his guilty plea. Second, it argued that even if it was cognizable, the state court’s rejection of the claim was not contrary to or an unreasonable application of established law as determined by the Supreme Court. The court held that his claim is not barred as the general rule has an exception where a petition may challenge the voludntary and intelligent character of the guilty plea based on pre-plea ineffective assistance of counsel. The Court then denied the claim as the “state court could reasonably have concluded that Mahrt’s counsel did not provide ineffective assistance in failing to move to suppres the firearms and ammunition. While trial counsel should have moved to suppress the evidence as “[t]here was at least a chance tht such a motion would have succeeded” the court found that it would have been reasonable for the state courts to conclude that a motion to suppress, if brought, would likely have been denied. The state courts could reasonable have concluded that the search was justified under the “emergency aid” exception to the warrant requirement. The officer had reason to believe there may have been a victim in the area and were not required to believe that she had left based on Mahrt’s and another persons statements, therefore, they had reason to go into the room to look for a victim.

blog comments powered by Disqus