Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Supreme Court decides two cases on ineffective assistance of counsel
In the first opinion, Missouri v. Frye, the Court held that the Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel extends to the consideration of plea offers that lapse or are rejected and that that right applies to “all ‘critical’ stages of the criminal proceedings.” Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Thomas and Alito. The oral argument for this case is available here.
In the second opinion, Lafler v. Cooper the Court held that where counsel’s ineffective advice led to an offer’s rejection, and where the prejudice alleged is having to stand trial, a defendant must show that but for the ineffective advice, there is a reasonable probability that the plea offer would have been presented to the court, that the court would have accepted its terms, and that the conviction or sentence, or both, under the offer’s terms would have been less severe than under the actual judgment and sentence imposed. Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Thomas joined and in which Chief Justice Roberts joined as to all but Part IV. Justice Alito also filed a dissenting opinion. The oral argument is available here.
The New York Times has more the story here.