Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 18,800+ case briefs...

Rompilla v. Beard

United States Supreme Court
545 U.S. 374 (2005)



Rompilla (plaintiff) was convicted of murder. At sentencing, the prosecution introduced evidence of Rompilla’s prior felony convictions as aggravating factors to justify imposing the death penalty. The defense presented testimony from family members as mitigating evidence. Rompilla’s lawyers had interviewed Rompilla and his family members to search for mitigating factors. The jury sentenced Rompilla to death. The state supreme court affirmed the conviction and death sentence. Rompilla obtained new lawyers and filed an ineffective assistance of counsel claim, arguing that his trial lawyers failed to present several mitigating factors. The court found that Rompilla’s trial lawyers had done reasonable research regarding mitigating factors. Rompilla petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus in federal district court. The federal district court held that the state supreme court had misapplied the standard for ineffective assistance of counsel as set out in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). Under Strickland, ineffective assistance is deficient performance by counsel that results in prejudice. The federal court granted Rompilla relief for ineffective assistance of counsel. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed and held that the trial lawyers used reasonable efforts to uncover mitigating factors. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Souter, J.)

Dissent (Kennedy, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 499,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 499,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 18,800 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial