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.
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.
Burt v. Titlow
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.
Christeson v. Roper
135 S. Ct. 891 (2015) (PDF)
When a death row inmate’s appointed attorneys had missed the filing deadline for his first federal habeas petition and could not be expected to argue that the inmate was entitled to equitable tolling of the statute of limitations, the district court abused its discretion in denying a motion for the appointment of substitute, conflict-free 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.
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
Davis v. Ayala
135 S. Ct. 2187 (2015) (PDF)
Exclusion of Defendant’s attorney from part of an ex parte Batson hearing was harmless error. There was no basis for finding that the Defendant suffered actual prejudice.
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.
Hinton v. Alabama
134 S. Ct. 1081 (2014) (PDF)
Claim of ineffective assistance of counsel was supported when defense counsel in a capital murder trial failed to seek additional funds to replace an inadequate expert when that failure was based not on any strategic decision, but rather on a mistaken belief that available funding was capped at $1,000. The Court vacated the judgment below and remanded the case for reconsideration of whether the attorney's deficient performance was prejudicial.
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.
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.
Jennings v. Stephens
135 S. Ct. 793 (2014) (PDF)
A prisoner who sought federal habeas relief based on three theories of ineffective assistance of counsel and prevailed in the district court on two of them is not required to file a cross-appeal in order to urge an alternative ground for relief or seek a certificate of appealability on the third theory.
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.
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.
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.
Maracich v. Spears
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Woods v. Donald
135 S. Ct. 1372 (2015) (PDF)
Supreme Court held that attorney’s brief absence during testimony concerning other defendants was no per se ineffective assistance of counsel under United States v. Cronic.