No second chance for man who confessed to murder

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court says a man whose lawyer didn't challenge his confession to murder will not get his sentence thrown out.

The high court on Wednesday overturned a decision by the federal appeals court in the case of Randy Moore.

Moore pleaded no contest to murder charges in the shooting death of Kenneth Rogers during a 1995 kidnapping and received a 25-year sentence in Oregon prison. He appealed, saying his lawyer should have tried to suppress his confession to police.

The state courts turned away his petition, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that his lawyer performed unreasonably.

The Supreme Court overturned that decision in a unanimous judgment written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.

"Many elect to limit risk by forgoing the right to assert their innocence," Kennedy said. "A defendant who accepts a plea bargain on counsel's advice does not necessarily suffer prejudice when his counsel fails to seek suppression of evidence."

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a concurring opinion saying Moore never once said he would have resisted the plea bargain if he had been given more information by his lawyer. "For that reason, I concur in the court's judgment," she said.

Justice Elena Kagan did not take part in the case because she worked on it while serving as solicitor general.

The case is Premo v. Moore, 09-658.

Published: Thu, Jan 20, 2011

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