Friday, March 23, 2012

Supreme Court Rules for Inmate With Double Claims of Ineffective Assistance of trial and appellate counsel

The Supreme Court, 7-2 opinion, held that ineffective assistance by a prisoner's appellate lawyer could excusethe prisoner’s failure to raise the ineffective assistance of trial counsel claim, allowing a federal court to consider the issue.

"Martinez says his trial counsel should have challenged the expert testimony as inaccurate, and the lawyer who represented him in his state collateral appeal should have contended he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals barred Martinez’s claim that his trial lawyer was ineffective, saying it had been procedurally defaulted by his first habeas lawyer. As a result, the federal courts could not consider the issue.
The U.S. Supreme Court reversed, saying it was “recognizing a narrow exception” to the default rule established in a 1991 decision, Coleman v. Thompson."  More.

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