Dominguez v. PruettAnnotate this Case
After a jury trial, Petitioner was convicted of malicious wounding and robbery. Petitioner was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment for malicious wounding and five years’ imprisonment for robbery, to be served concurrently. On appeal, Petitioner asserted that the trial court erred in instructing the jury as to the elements of malicious wounding and that insufficient evidence supported the convictions. The court of appeals denied the appeal. Petitioner subsequently filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, arguing, among other things, that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to object to the malicious wounding jury instruction. The habeas court denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court improperly instructed the jury and the elements of malicious wounding; but (2) Petitioner was not prejudiced by his counsel’s failure to object to the instruction, as the erroneous malicious wounding instruction did not render the trial fundamentally unfair.