Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Supreme Court decides case re ineffective assistance of counsel

In an opinion announced yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a claim of innefective assistance of counsel filed by an inmate convicted of murder. The argument was based on the fact that the lawyer advised the client to withdraw an insanity plea. The opinion is available here.

The Court of Appeals had held the advice violated standards of professional conduct because it was the only affirmative defense available to the defendant. But the Supreme Court held the defendant needed to prove that his lawyer’s advice was deficient and that it had prejudiced him (which is, in fact, the standard the Court established many years ago).

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