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The Kelley Institute
Law of Lawyering
Supreme Court Review

Cases tagged as: attorney-client relationship

Berghuis v. Thompkins

130 S. Ct. 2250 (2010) (PDF)

Petitioner brought a Sixth Amendment ineffective assistance of counsel claim for failure to ask for jury instructions. The court held that even if there was deficient performance, the petitioner could not show prejudice under de novo review.

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, prejudice, sixth amendment,

Bobby v. Van Hook

130 S.Ct. 13 (2009) (PDF)

State inmate (who had been sentenced to death) was held not to be entitled to federal habeas corpus relief on claim, under Federal Constitution's Sixth Amendment, of ineffective assistance of counsel during sentencing phase of trial. A decision not to seek more mitigating evidence was within the range of professionally reasonable judgments. Because the petition was filed before 1996 the stricter ABA standards for counsel in death penalty cases did not apply in assessing counsel's use of mitigation in sentencing portion of the trial.

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, prejudice, sixth amendment,

Burt v. Titlow

134 S. Ct. 10, 187 L. Ed. 2d 348 (2013) (PDF)

The Court held that the Sixth Circuit failed to apply the correct standard ("doubly deferential" standard) of review when it did not credit the state district court's reasonable factual findings when the Circuit assumed ineffective assistance of counsel where the record was silent.

Related tag(s): 2013 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, legal advice, right to counsel,

Clapper v. Amnesty International USA

133 S. Ct. 1138 (2013) (PDF)

The Court reversed and remanded, 5-4, deciding that respondents lacked Article III standing to challenge FISA Amendments Act of 2008, 50 U.S.C. Section 1881(1)(a). The Court thus did not determine whether the federal wiretapping anti-terrorism program interferes with attorneys' ethical obligations.

Related tag(s): 2012 Term, attorney-client relationship, legal advice,

Cullen v. Pinholster

131 S. Ct. 1388 (2011) (PDF)

The Court determined that counsel was not ineffective in failing to consult with an additional psychiatrist and more family members to produce sufficient mitigating evidence

Related tag(s): 2010 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, prejudice, sixth amendment,

Harrington v. Richter

131 S. Ct. 770 (2011) (PDF)

The Court reversed the Ninth Circuit's finding of ineffective assistance of counsel, where the defense attorney used cross-examination and other methods to create reasonable doubt rather than expert testimony and forensic evidence about the blood that was found at the murder scene.

Related tag(s): 2010 Term, academic amicus brief filed, attorney-client relationship, decision in favor of academic amicus brief, ineffective assistance of counsel, prejudice, sixth amendment,

Holland v. Florida

130 S. Ct. 2549 (2010) (PDF)

Petitioner was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. His counsel failed to file a habeas petition within the one year limit even though he urged him to. Limitations period under 28 U.S.C.S. § 2244(d)(1) for filing federal habeas corpus petition held subject to equitable tolling; further factual consideration held required to determine whether allegedly unprofessional conduct of accused's counsel warranted equitable tolling.

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, academic amicus brief filed, attorney-client relationship, bad faith, decision in favor of academic amicus brief, equitable tolling, unprofessional conduct,

Jefferson v. Upton

130 S. Ct. 2217 (2010) (PDF)

On habeas corpus review of a claim by a state prison inmate who was under death sentence, the federal court held to have erred under the former version of 28 U.S.C.S. § 2254(d), by not fully considering all of the potentially applicable exceptions to statutory presumption of correctness.

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, attorney-client relationship, habeas corpus, ineffective assistance of counsel, sixth amendment,

Jerman v. Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich LPA

130 S. Ct. 1605 (2010) (PDF)

The Court held that the "mistake of law" defense is not available to attorneys under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, notwithstanding the law firm's argument that this will create a conflict of interest between an attorney's personal financial interest and her ethical obligation of zealous advocacy for the client.

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, attorney-client relationship, conflicts of interest,

Lafler v. Cooper

132 S.Ct. 1376 (PDF)

In Lafler, the court had to decide whether bad advice from a lawyer during plea negotiations may impact a subsequent guilty verdict. The Court held that defendants are entitled to effective assistance of legal counsel during plea negotiations. According to the Court, the proper test for determining ineffective assistance of counsel is whether, absent the ineffective counsel, a defendant would have accepted an offered plea that was less severe than his eventual sentence, and the trial court would have accepted the terms of that plea.

Related tag(s): 2011 Term, ABA amicus brief filed, attorney-client relationship, bad faith, decision in favor of ABA amicus brief, ineffective assistance of counsel,

Maples v. Thomas

132 S.Ct. 912 (2012) (PDF)

In Maples, the Court had to decide whether a petitioner's failure to appeal a decision because it was sent to his attorneys at an address where they no longer worked constituted cause to excuse procedural default. The Court held that cause for a procedural default exists when something external to a petitioner impedes the petitioner’s efforts to comply with a State’s procedural rules.

Related tag(s): 2011 Term, academic amicus brief filed, attorney-client relationship, decision in favor of academic amicus brief,

Maracich v. Spears

No. 12-25, 2013 BL 158315, 2013 ILRC 2069 (U.S. June 17, 2013) (PDF)

The Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that lawyers violated drivers' privacy rights as designated by statute when they gathered personal information from state motor vehicle records to recruit prospective plaintiffs for lawsuits.

Related tag(s): 2012 Term, attorney-client relationship, conflicts of interest, solicitation, unprofessional conduct,

Martel v. Clair

132 S.Ct. 1276 (2012) (PDF)

At issue here was whether a state death row prisoner is entitled to a new court-appointed lawyer when the first fails to pursue critical evidence (here exonerating DNA tests). The Court held that when evaluating motions to substitute counsel in capital cases under 18. U.S.C §3599, courts should employ the same “interests of justice” standard that applies in non-capital cases under §3006A. Regarding the District Court's denial of Clair's second request for new counsel, there was no abuse of discretion.

Related tag(s): 2011 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, prejudice, sixth amendment,

Martinez v. Ryan

132 S.Ct. 1309 (2012) (PDF)

In Martinez, the Court decided whether a criminal defendant had a right to effective assistance of first post-conviction counsel, specifically with respect to his ineffective-assistance-of-trial-counsel claim. They held that where, under state law, ineffective-assistance-of-trial-counsel claims must be raised in an initial-review collateral proceeding, a procedural default will not bar a federal habeas court from hearing those claims if, in the initial review collateral proceeding, there as no counsel or counsel in that proceeding was ineffective.

Related tag(s): 2011 Term, ABA amicus brief filed, attorney-client relationship, decision in favor of ABA amicus brief, ineffective assistance of counsel, prejudice, sixth amendment,

Missouri v. Frye

132 S.Ct. 1399 (2012) (PDF)

The question before the Court was whether bad advice from a lawyer during plea negotiations may impact a subsequent guilty verdict. The Court held that a guilty plea must be a voluntary expression of the defendant's choice, and a knowing and intelligent act done with sufficient awareness of the relevant circumstances and likely consequences. As a result, the defendant was prejudiced by counsel's deficient performance in failing to advise defendant of plea offers from state prosecutors before he plead guilty.

Related tag(s): 2011 Term, ABA amicus brief filed, attorney-client relationship, bad faith, decision in favor of ABA amicus brief, ineffective assistance of counsel,

Padilla v. Kentucky

130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010) (PDF)

Counsel's alleged failure to correctly advise an alien legal permanent resident of United States, before he pleaded guilty to trafficking in marijuana, that this was deportable offense under Immigration and Naturalization Act provision (8 U.S.C.S. § 1227(a)(2)(B)(i)) held to be deficient assistance under Sixth Amendment.

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, ABA amicus brief filed, academic amicus brief filed, attorney-client relationship, decision in favor of ABA amicus brief, decision in favor of academic amicus brief, immigration, ineffective assistance of counsel, sixth amendment,

Porter v. McCollum

130 S. Ct. 447 (2009) (PDF)

Counsel's failure at a capital sentencing to present evidence of accused's mental health or mental impairment, family background, or military service held to be (1) ineffective assistance in violation of Sixth Amendment; and (2) prejudicial to accused.

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, prejudice, sixth amendment,

Premo v. Moore

131 S. Ct. 733 (2011) (PDF)

State prisoner--who, after confessing to fatal shooting, followed counsel's advice to plead no contest to felony murder in exchange for minimum sentence--was held to be not entitled to federal habeas corpus relief on claim of ineffective assistance in counsel's failure, before giving plea advice, to move to suppress confession.

Related tag(s): 2010 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, prejudice, sixth amendment,

Ryan v. Lambright

N/A (PDF)

Granted cert for the 2013 term, Ryan v. Lambright asks whether the Ninth Circuit created an improper rule inventing a duty for district courts to sua sponte impose a blanket protective order – absent any request from the privilege holder – at the commencement of any discovery in habeas proceedings in which the habeas petitioner asserts a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.

Related tag(s): 2013 Term, attorney-client relationship, habeas corpus, ineffective assistance of counsel,

Sears v. Upton

130 S. Ct. 3259 (2010) (PDF)

Petitioner was sentenced to death and brought a Sixth Amendment Ineffective assistance of counsel claim. The state court erred in its analysis of petitioner's Sixth Amendment claim since (1) the state court curtailed a more probing prejudice inquiry because it placed undue reliance on the assumed reasonableness of counsel's mitigation theory, and (2) the state court failed to apply the proper prejudice inquiry. A proper analysis of prejudice would have taken into account the newly uncovered evidence of petitioner's "significant" mental and psychological impairments.

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, sixth amendment,

Smith v. Spisak

130 S. Ct. 676 (2010) (PDF)

State prison inmate given death sentence held not entitled to federal habeas corpus relief on claims of penalty-phase (1) unconstitutional jury instructions allegedly allowing consideration of only unanimously-found mitigating factors; or (2) ineffective assistance of counsel in closing argument.

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, jury instructions, sixth amendment,

Wong v. Belmontes

130 S. Ct. 383 (2009) (PDF)

State prison inmate who had been sentenced to death for murder held not entitled to federal habeas corpus relief on claim, under Federal Constitution, of ineffective assistance of counsel during sentencing phase of trial as inmate could not establish prejudice under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984).

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, prejudice, sixth amendment,

Wood v. Allen

130 S. Ct. 841 (2010) (PDF)

Under § 2254(d)(2), the state court's finding that defendant's counsel made a strategic decision not to pursue or present evidence of defendant's mental deficiencies was not an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the state-court proceedings.

Related tag(s): 2009 Term, attorney-client relationship, ineffective assistance of counsel, sixth amendment,


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