March 22

Supreme Court: Attorneys Must Effectively Assist Defendants in Plea Bargaining Process

The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that attorneys must provide effective assistance of counsel when advising their clients whether to plead guilty or not guilty. “If a plea bargain has been offered, a defendant has the right to effective assistance of counsel in considering whether to accept it,” Justice Anthony Kennedy said. “If that right is denied, prejudice can be shown if loss of the plea opportunity led to a trial resulting in a conviction on more serious charges or the imposition of a more severe sentence.”