In my original post, I argued, among other things, that the case could result in expanding the reach of an older case which I don’t like (Florida v. Nixon). In Nixon, the Court found that the lawyer had not provided ineffective assistance of counsel based on a distinction between "conceding guilt" and "pleading guilty." I have never been comfortable with Florida v Nixon for many reasons, the most important one of which is that I don't see the difference between conceding guilt and pleading guilty. In the end, the Court allowed an attorney to make a fundamental decision, which is explicitly reserved for the client to make, without client consent.
McCoy had the potential to make things worse because the Court was asked to find no ineffective assistance of counsel even if an attorney decided to concede guilt over the express objection of the client.
Yet, I am pleased to report that the Court found for the defendant, holding that
“a defendant has the right to insist that counsel refrain from admitting guilt, even when counsel’s experienced-based view is that confessing guilt offers the defendant the best chance to avoid the death penalty. Guaranteeing a defendant the right “to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence,” the Sixth Amendment so demands. With individual liberty—and, in capital cases, life—at stake, it is the defendant’s prerogative, not counsel’s, to decide on the objective of his defense: to admit guilt in the hope of gaining mercy at the sentencing stage, or to maintain his innocence, leaving it to the State to prove his guilt beyond a reason- able doubt.”I definitely think this is the right decision in this case. I just wish the Court had used the opportunity to find it had erred in Nixon (and to overrule it) too.
You can read the full opinion here. The SCotUS blog has an analysis of the opinion here and NPR has a short comment here.