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ABA Urges Supreme Court to Recognize Right to Effective Counsel in Initial Sixth Amendment Appeals

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2011 – Defendants asserting a claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel should have a right to effective assistance of counsel at the first state court proceeding in which they can bring that claim, the _ told the U.S. Supreme Court in its amicus curiae brief in the case of Martinez v. Ryan.

Urging the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court ruling, the brief asserts that recognition of a right to effective assistance of counsel at that stage “is paramount if state and federal post-conviction proceedings are to remain viable forums for enforcing a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to effective trial counsel.”

The brief, available here, cites ABA Criminal Justice Standards.

With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is the world’s largest voluntary professional membership organization. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

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Comments (1)

  • Rob Two-Hawks
    5:55 PM August 21, 2011

    This is a good proposal from the ABA. Nevertheless,a proposal does not a law or ruling make.Not to be pessimistic here as this proposal needs further endorsement and widespread momentum.Meanwhile,to temper our expectations for radical or rapid change of the legal status quo…we need to remember such things as the 1997 law enacted by Congress aimed at ending Prosecutorial misconduct(…particularly,conduct related to withholding vital and exculpatory evidence.)Nice gesture but to date primarily in the form of a gesture rather than a reality.Since 1997 only one prosecutor has been barred from practicing law(..and temporarily) and there have been many serious prosecutorial violations here.To be indomitable and truly committed to change…requires hard work and passion over the long haul or…the ideal never becomes the real.Keep-on-truckin’…and keep-the-Faith!