Andrea D. Lyon, The Promise of Effective Assistance of Counsel: Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough, The Champion, NACDL, June 2012.
In addition to oral argument in Vazquez (link to argument here), the court issued several opinions of relevance to military trial and appellate practitioners: what are the “rules” and standards for IAC in regard to pretrial negotiations.
Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye.
the Court vacated the decision of the Court of Appeals of Missouri and remanded the case for further proceedings. By a vote of five to four, 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.
Today the court will hear oral argument in Premo v. Moore, a case with potential ramifications for court-martials. Courtesy of SCOTUSBlog here is a summary:
The Sixth Amendment secures a criminal defendant’s right to effective assistance of counsel. Under Strickland v. Washington (1984), that right is violated when a lawyer’s performance falls below an objective standard of reasonableness, resulting in prejudice to the defendant. Counsel’s representation is prejudicial when there is a reasonable probability that, but for the lawyer’s deficiencies, the proceeding would have ended differently. Some defendants accept a plea bargain and then argue that their counsel was ineffective; in those cases, Hill v. Lockhart (1985) instructs a court to ask whether there is a reasonable probability that the defendant would have gone to trial had his counsel been constitutionally adequate. When the Court hears argument tomorrow in Premo v. Moore (09-658), it will attempt to clarify how Strickland and Hill apply to plea deals that are made after counsel fails to suppress an unconstitutionally obtained confession.
For those who want to go right to the papers here is the SCOTUSBlog page.
In United States v. Darling, ACCA affirmed because appellant could not establish the prejudice prong of an IAC “claim.” This is worth reading for those cases where the accused is found not guilty after a contested case, but during sentencing there is a concession that the accused was actually guilty. For the defense counsel this case addresses the issues of how to do sentencing and try to get a lower sentence.
Appellate defense counsel initially raised one assignment of error to this court – that appellant’s conviction for uttering checks with intent to defraud was legally and factually insufficient. Upon our initial review, we specified the following issues: