CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"Two executions blocked over lawyers’ role"

From ScotusBlog:

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.

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