A Mississippi death row inmate whose lawyer had never tried a case and suffered from mental illness failed Monday to persuade the Supreme Court to take his case. The court did not comment in denying the appeal from Quintez Hodges, who was sentenced to death in 2001 for killing his ex-girlfriend's brother two years earlier. Hodges presented evidence that his attorney, Michael Miller, was abusing drugs around the time of his trial and suffered from mental illness. A little over a year after Hodges' trial, Miller's parents had him committed to a psychiatric hospital.
The state said Mississippi courts examined Hodges' claims and determined they lacked merit.
"Miller's commitment papers...clearly show that this was his first commitment," state Attorney General Jim Hood told the court.
Under prior Supreme Court rulings, defendants have to show that their lawyer was deficient and that the outcome probably would have been different with competent representation.