Rountree v. Balicki, No. 09-1189 (3d Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
The defendant committed an armed robbery and another shooting within two weeks in 1993 and was ultimately sentenced by one county to 50 years imprisonment, with parole eligibility after 16 years and 8 months, to run consecutively with a 10-year sentence imposed in another county. The New Jersey state appeals court held that the defense attorney's failure to move for consolidation fell below what was expected of "counsel" under the Sixth Amendment, but was not prejudicial. The federal district court denied a petition for habeas corpus. The Third Circuit affirmed, applying the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, 28 U.S.C. 2254. The state court reasonably concluded that the defendant was not prejudiced by ineffective counsel, because he had declined a plea offer that was as good as any he could reasonably have received if the cases had been consolidated. The state court decision was not contrary to and did not involve unreasonable application of federal law.