US Supreme Court Overrules Idaho Supreme Court Ruling; Sides with Inmate

The United States Supreme Court as overruled the Idaho Supreme Court regarding a defendant’s right to appeal on the basis of ineffective counsel, thus further refining what constitutes a claim of ineffective counsel.

From The Idaho Statesman:

The case, Garza v. Idaho, centered on the right to appeal. In 2017, the Idaho Supreme Court rejected petitioner Gilberto Garza Jr’s claim that his trial attorney was ineffective after the attorney ignored Garza’s requests to file an appeal after Garza had agreed to plea agreements.

In 2015, Garza signed two plea agreements that waived his right to appeal. Shortly after sentencing, Garza informed his court-appointed public defender that he wished to appeal anyway. The attorney declined, citing those plea agreements, and ignored repeated phone calls and letters from Garza asking to file the appeal.

The 2017 Idaho Supreme Court opinion said it was unclear at the time what the standard for ineffective counsel was once a defendant knowingly signed a plea agreement that waived certain rights.”

The implications of the ruling are wide-ranging for the legal system. Not only does it better clarify the role and responsibilities of an attorney to their client, but as well redefines the standard necessary in the language used in waivers of one’s right so that there are fewer ambiguities to be challenged at a later time.

The full SCOTUS opinion in the case can be found HERE.

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