On November 15, 2017, pro bono counsel from Maslon LLP won a new punishment trial for their client, Douglas Armstrong, after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals vacated his death sentence.
In a 5-4 ruling, the court found that Mr. Armstrong’s trial counsel failed to conduct a constitutionally adequate investigation into their client’s background, as required by Wiggins v. Smith (2003). Pro bono counsel successfully argued that a more thorough investigation into the mitigating factors that contributed to Mr. Armstrong’s crime, including a “squalid and dangerous home life,” as well as expert testimony about his mental and physical health issues, could have led at least one member of the jury to recommend a life sentence.
The Death Penalty Representation Project recruited Maslon to assist with Mr. Armstrong’s state habeas proceedings in 2007, following his robbery-homicide conviction in Hidalgo County, Texas.
The Project congratulates Maslon on this important victory for their client!