Johnston v. Mitchell, No. 16-2277 (1st Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
The First Circuit affirmed Defendant’s convictions of first degree murder. Defendant took a collateral challenge to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. The SJC affirmed Defendant’s conviction. A federal district court denied Defendant’s subsequent petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. 2254. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the SJC clearly understood and reasonably rejected Defendant’s claims on the merits in a manner consistent with federal constitutional law; and (2) to the extent that the SJC misapprehended Defendant’s argument regarding his Fifth Amendment rights, Defendant suffered no prejudice because his Strickland argument would not have prevailed.