Category: ineffective assistance of counsel

Coincidence or crafty staging: Senators witness woman climb 18-foot fence

By Alan Bean

The Gang of Eight senators took a photo-op tour of the border fence in Arizona yesterday and, what-d’ya-know, they witnessed a desperate young woman successfully scale an eighteen-foot border fence.  We have just their word for it since no media people were allowed to accompany the tour and hence we have no video or pictures.  I’m not questioning the legitimacy of the report; I’m sure the senators saw what they say they saw.  But how convenient that a young woman made her move at precisely the moment the senators made their appearance?

Coincidence, or crafty staging?   (more…)

A changed life gets a second chance

Nazry and Hope Mustakim

By Alan Bean

Hope and Nazry Mustakim will be speaking at the kickoff event for our Common Peace Community on Saturday.  If you live in the DFW area, we invite you to join us at 12 noon in Room 302 at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth.  Hope didn’t have to worry about the Department of Homeland Security until she married a man from Singapore.  That simple decision opened a door to a strange and frightening world.

Armed immigration agents woke Nazry Mustakim and his wife, Hope, as dawn broke on March 30, 2011, banging on the door of their North Waco home. Even as they handcuffed 32-year-old Naz, as friends and family know him, agents promised the arrest was merely administrative. He’d be released within hours, they said. “His case had just been flagged for some reason,” Hope said. “I was told he’d be out in no time.” Naz texted his call-center boss, saying he’d be late for work.

Days later, however, U.S. Immigration and Customs officials told Hope that Naz would be deported to Singapore and he was sent to the ICE detention center in Pearsall, south of San Antonio, to wait. (more…)

Liptak: When Death Row Lawyers Stumble, Clients Take the Fall

Why, Adam Liptak asks, is it morally permissible to blame clients for their lawyers’ mistakes?  In the case in point, a death row inmate was represented by a drug-addicted attorney who eventually committed suicide.  Not surprisingly, legal motions were improperly filed and, precisely for this reason, a court refused to hear the defendants case.  Here’s Liptak’s discussion of the primary issue:

. . . why is it morally permissible to blame clients for their lawyers’ mistakes?

The legal system generally answers by saying that lawyers are their clients’ agents. The answer makes perfect sense when you are talking about sophisticated clients who choose their lawyers, supervise their work and fire them if they turn out to be incompetent or worse.

But the theory turns problematic . . . when the clients are on death row, have no role in the selection of their lawyers and have no real control over them.

As a legal layperson, I have never understood why defendants should suffer for the sins of their attorneys.  But they do.  All the time.  AGB

When Death Row Lawyers Stumble, Clients Take the Fall

By 

Published: January 7, 2013

WASHINGTON — Twice in recent years, the Supreme Court rebuked the federal appeals court in Atlanta for its rigid attitude toward filing deadlines in capital cases. The appeals court does not seem to be listening.

A few days after Christmas, a divided three-judge panel of the court ruled that Ronald B. Smith, a death row inmate in Alabama, could not pursue a challenge to his conviction and sentence because he had not “properly filed” a document by a certain deadline.

As it happens, there is no dispute that the document was filed on time. But it was not “properly filed,” the majority said, because Mr. Smith’s lawyer did not at the same time pay the $154 filing fee or file a motion to establish something also not in dispute — that his client was indigent. (more…)