31 March 2006

A Mockery Of Justice

In this case, a court appointed an attorney for a prisoner on his appeal. The attorney admits to having done nothing more than format the prisoner's brief. Yet, in 2-1 decision, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals says that this doesn't matter. Ironically, the basis of the appeal itself is ineffective assistance of counsel.

An adversary system only works if you have effective defense counsel. The willingness of judges to ignore gross derlictions of duty on the part of defense counsel in very serious cases (this case is a murder case) is appalling and a mockery of justice. (Similarly, five judges on an en banc panel in the 5th Circuit thought that it was O.K. that an attorney for someone in a death penalty trial slept through some of the trial at the counsel table in open court.)

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