Busy day at the Court

Today’s debate on the constitutionality of the three-drug cocktail used for Kentucky lethal injections (more on that later) was not the only news coming out the Supreme Court today.

In two per curiam decisions handed down this morning, the Court (1) held that there is no presumption that a defendant received ineffective assistance from his legal counsel where the attorney participates in a plea hearing by speaker phone, reversing a judgment of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals [Wright v. Van Patten, No. 07-212]; and (2) dismissed another case involving a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel where the defendant in the action abandoned his appeal in favor of resentencing in the lower court [Arave v. Hoffman, No. 07-110. See the Lawyers USA summary of the case here].

On Friday, the Court also granted certiorari in six new cases, including Irizarry v. U.S., No. 07-7517, where the Court agreed to consider whether a judge in a criminal matter has a duty to give both sides advance notice before imposing a sentence that departs from the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. That, and the other certiorari grants, are summarized nicely – complete with links to the briefs – by SCOTUSBlog here.

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