Any thoughts on this 6th Ammendment SCOTUS ruling brought up in this opinion piece?
The writer is clearly upset about the other recent SCOTUS decisions but I am interested in the 6th Ammendment take.
I read that one when it first came out. I recall thinking that the Court followed the statutory law properly, but that that the law itself was flawed.
The article itself? Hyperbolic, uninformative trash.
As I recall, what happened in these two cases were that the defendants were both convicted of horrific crimes. They were convicted in state court. They appealed in state court, citing ineffective assistance of counsel. Their appeals were denied.
They then tried to appeal to Federal court, alleging that the lawyers who handled their state ineffectiveness of counsel appeals were also ineffective. (The allegations being that both their trial counsel and their appellate counsel were ineffective.) One of the allegations in each case is that neither counsel created a sufficient factual record.
A federal court and then the Ninth Circuit (federal appellate court for West Coast states) found that the defendants were entitled to a hearing where new evidence could be presented (for the first time).
The Supreme Court (6-3) found that federal law prohibits having a new federal evidentiary hearing at this stage. You can make legal arguments based on the record that exists, but you can't present new evidence. So, if your two (or more, presumably, in states that have multiple layers of appeals) lawyers suck and don't create a sufficient record, you're screwed, because that's your one time to put on evidence. Here, the appellate lawyer should have done a better job creating a record regarding the ways in which the trial lawyer had screwed up, including any exculpatory evidence that existed.
The dissent said that that's a misreading of federal law.
That's from memory, so somebody feel free to correct that.