United States Eighth Circuit

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Sinisterra v. US, 08-1925

In a capital murder prosecution, a denial of defendant's motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. section 2255 is affirmed in part where: 1) the prosecutor's closing remarks did not have the effect of diverting the jury from its role in weighing defendant's mitigation evidence; and 2) defendant failed to show that, had counsel objected to improper statements by the prosecutor, he would not have received the death sentence. However, the order is reversed in part where the record did not conclusively show that defendant's attorneys acted within the range of competence demanded of attorneys in criminal cases.

Appellate Information

  • Submitted 12/15/2009
  • Decided 04/01/2010
  • Published 04/01/2010


  • WOLLMAN, Circuit Judge., Before RILEY, Chief Judge, WOLLMAN, and MELLOY, Circuit Judges.


  • United States Eighth Circuit


  • For Appellant:
  • Timothy M. Gabrielsen, Asst. Fed. Public Defender, Tucson, AZ, argued (Jon M. Sands, Fed. Public Defender, Leticia Marquez, Asst. Fed. Public Defender, Tucson, AZ, John Jenab, Jenab & McCauley, LLP, Olathe, KS, on the brief), for appellant.

  • For Appellees:
  • Lajuana M. Counts, Asst. U.S. Atty., Kansas City, MO, argued (Matt J. Whitworth, U.S. Atty., Jeffrey E. Valenti, Asst. U.S. Atty., on the brief), for appellee.