I meant to put this up earlier but, this week, the SCOTUS granted a petition to determine whether convicts are entitled to effective assistance of counsel on a state writ. If so, this would constitute an upheaval of post-conviction proceedings. The case is Martinez v. Ryan, and more information can be found at:
BTW. On a pro-prosecution blog, Texas' own Chip Wilkinson is quoted discussing the case:
Such a ruling would effectively create an enormous loophole for defendants return to abuse of the writ. Before the additional of federal time limits on filing a writ and state limits on successive writs, the writ process was a mess, permitting inmates to file over and over, wasting a lot of time and energy for nothing.
Inmates and lawyers would simply rewrite their successive writs in the form of an ineffective assistance of previous writ lawyer claim. The net effect would be to dilute the meaning of a writ, slow down the ability of court's to identify and give relief in a proper case and negate the gains made over the last few decades in efficiency.
More importantly, it is hard to understand how a constitutional claim is available, since the appellate courts have consistently held that a defendant doesn't have a right to counsel for a writ in the first place.
An inmate should certainly have a competent writ lawyer. And Texas, for example, has done much to improve the standards for assigning a competent writ lawyer. But, that does not mean the constitution should be stretched to cover the issue.
A stay was granted in a Texas case while the SCOTUS decides this issue:
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear the case of Texas death row inmate Carlos Trevino in a case that could determine whether a defendant in Texas has a right to “competent” attorney during habeas appeals — a challenge to a criminal conviction that considers whether the defendant's constitutional rights were violated during his trial.
|Powered by Social Strata|
© TDCAA, 2001. All Rights Reserved.