No Habeas For Killer Who Claimed Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on March 07, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed a lower court's denial on a request for habeas corpus relief of a prisoner, Alfredo Companonio.

Companonio is currently serving a life sentence for a 1987 conviction on first degree murder. He claims that he was wrongly convicted as he received ineffective assistance of counsel during the course of his murder trial. Specifically, Companonio is alleging that his counsel failed to present a mental impairment defense.

The lower court found that the ineffective assistance claim was invalid as Companonio had instructed his attorney not to present the mental impairment defense and that he had been fit and competent to stand trial and assist in his defense at that time.

The case arose from a 1986 incident where Campanonio shot and killed a friend. At the time, he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol, according to court documents.

Several years later, Campanonio presented a motion for a new trial, where he first raised the ineffective counsel issue. The motion was granted, but an evidentiary hearing was conducted where testimony was presented from four doctors, three of whom had evaluated Companonio before his first trial.

It was concluded that Companonio had been fit to stand trial and that he did not lack the capacity to appreciate the nature of his actions at the time of the offense, nor was he unable to conform his behavior to the law at that time.

As such, it was concluded that he was responsible for his behavior at the time of the killing.

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