WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court won’t hear Florida’s appeal of a lower court ruling that threw out the death sentence of a Jacksonville man convicted of a 1984 murder.
The justices on Monday left in place an appeals court ruling that said John Gary Hardwick’s lawyer should have brought up evidence of his client’s troubled childhood and history of drug abuse that might have led to a lesser punishment.
Florida officials argued that Hardwick told his attorney not to present evidence at the sentencing hearing and prevented him from locating witnesses who might testify about his childhood abuse and drug use.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that Hardwick’s lawyer was inadequate. He was convicted of killing 17-year-old Keith Pullum after a drug dispute.