Supreme Court Says Bad Counsel Can Excuse Claim Default

Law360, New York (May 28, 2013, 3:43 PM EDT) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that ineffectiveness of a criminal defendant's state court counsel can excuse the procedural default of claims in federal court when state law doesn't provide a “meaningful” opportunity for the defendant to raise the claims.

The high court vacated a Fifth Circuit decision barring inadequate attorney claims raised by a Texas death row inmate, faulting Texas law for failing to provide “most defendants a meaningful opportunity to present a claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel on direct appeal, ”...
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