April 6, 2011
"Two executions blocked over lawyers’ role"
The Supreme Court, delaying scheduled executions in Arizona and Texas on Monday night and Tuesday, has put itself in a position to take on an issue that has lingered unresolved for two decades: whether there is a constitutional right to a lawyer performing effectively in a new challenge started after a conviction has become final.
The Court has ruled previously that the right to a lawyer applies in several stages of a criminal case, including the first appeal after a guilty verdict is in, and it has ruled that the right includes a guarantee that the lawyer will have done an adequate job. But the Court generally has refused to allow such a right in what is called a “post-conviction” challenge, often pursued under a habeas law once the first round of appeals is over and the conviction has become final.
April 6, 2011 | Permalink