Wednesday, January 18, 2012
The United States Supreme Court has held that there was cause to excuse the default of two departing Sullivan & Cromwell attorneys who "abandoned [a client's death penalty] case without leave of court, without informing [the client] that they could no longer represent him, and without securing any recorded sustitution of counsel."
Justice Ginsburg concluded for the majority that "no just system would lay the default at [the client's] death-cell door."
Justice Alito concurred:
What occurred here was not a predictable consequence of the Alabama system but a veritable perfect storm of misfortune, a most unlikely combination of events that, without notice, effectively deprived the petitioner of legal representation.
Justice Scalia, joined by Justice Thomas, dissented and would affirm the Eleventh Circuit's judgment. (Mike Frisch)