CrimLawProfBlog brings a link to a summary of last year’s criminal law cases at the Supremes.
The Supreme Court 2012 Term was one in which the Court tackled several of the most critical issues that arise in our criminal justice system. Perhaps most importantly, as the 50th Anniversary of the Court’s decision in Gideon v. Wainwright approached, Court addressed the problems presented by counsel who had not provided the effective assistance of counsel during the plea bargaining process. Whereas it was common knowledge that the vast majority of cases in the criminal courts of this country are resolved by plea bargaining, the Court had never required that court-appointed counsel provide competent advice when recommending rejection of a plea offer by the prosecution. It had not even been constitutionally required that counsel communicate to his client the existence of an offer that entailed a reduced sentence were the defendant to plead guilty. The Court also addressed the matter of what action by counsel would constitute abandonment of the client in the post-conviction phase of a case where the client had received the death penalty. And, finally, the Court considered what had remained an unresolved issue: was it constitutional to impose a sentence of life without parole for a juvenile who had been convicted of murder. This article provides analysis of the Court’s handling of these four critical issues.
Just the other day AFCCA had the IAC issue for consideration. See United States v. Gerdes, ACM S32091 (A.F. Ct. Crim. App. 14 Nov. 2013)(unpub.).