The Supreme Court today ordered a new trial for a man on Pennsylvania’s death row, ruling 5 to 4 that his attorney was sloppy in failing to investigate possible evidence of mental retardation, the Asssociated Press reports. The ruling overturned a death sentence for Ronald Rompilla, 56, who was convicted of robbing, stabbing and setting on fire a tavern owner in Allentown, Pa., in 1988. It was the second time in a week that the high court overturned a death penalty.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia had split 6-5 on the case. The high court, nearing the end of its 2004-5 term, will issue more opinions on Thursday.