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Constitutional/Criminal Law: Rare Praise for U.S. Supreme Court Rulings

I know that decisions later this Supreme Court Term will generate an altogether different reaction.  However, on March 21, the Supreme Court did issue two, related rulings addressing the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel during plea bargaining.  In Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye, the Court formally recognized the responsibility that defense counsel has to accurately and effectively convey plea offers, and the consequences of failing to accept such plea offers.  In doing so, the Supreme Court expanded upon the rights of criminal defendants in making certain that any such decision is knowing, voluntary and premised upon competent legal advice.  I presently have two appeals — one at the state level and one at the federal — that address exactly such an issue.  In both cases, the clients have been prejudiced by the ineffective efforts of trial counsel during the lead-up to a hasty plea.



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