Justice Antonin Scalia, at oral argument, yesterday.
"What would you have done? It makes sense logically to say he has the worst defendant he has ever seen. He's murdered lots of people in cold blood. He gets up on the stand and says, 'I'm going to kill a lot more.' He sounds totally bonkers."
Said Justice Stephen Breyer.
Is it possible to be constitutionally ineffective when you've got such a bad client?
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg tried to help: ""What's remarkable about it is at no point did counsel say, 'Give him a life sentence.' He said that either one would be acceptable: either death or life would be acceptable."
So did Justice Sonia Sotomayor, remarking on the lawyer's strategy of using the crimes themselves as evidence of mental illness": "At some point you can have a strategy and execute it so poorly, so incompetently, that you're providing ineffective assistance of counsel."