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Articles Tagged with supreme court

A recent Supreme Court decision will make it more difficult for those convicted of crimes to appeal the outcome of a trial on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel. The measure was decided in favor of the states in a 6-3 decision. However, the dissenting justices did not mince words when describing the decision. Judge Sotomayor called the decision “perverse.” Judge Clarence Thomas who wrote the prevailing opinion said the federal government should have minimal right to “relitigate” cases years after juries rendered a decision.

Understanding the Legal Issues

The Sixth Amendment guarantees every citizen who is charged with a crime an attorney to represent them. It is assumed that this attorney is competent, can follow the case, and is providing their client with the best possible representation under the circumstances. If they fail to do this, then the defendant can appeal a conviction on the basis that their lawyer did not represent them to the best of their ability. In these cases, the court must render a decision on whether or not a similar attorney in the same position would have taken a better approach and whether or not that approach would have made a significant difference over the outcome.

sebastian-pichler-25154-copy-300x200After a conviction for any type of criminal offense in Chicago, the defendant is given the chance to post a criminal defense appeal. It is the right of the defendant. Often, excluding certain cases, this appeal takes place in an intermediate appellate court. Every defendant in Chicago who is condemned of a crime has the right to put in an appeal. The appellate court cannot deny hearing the case.

Let’s say the appeal is unsuccessful in the intermediary court. The defendant is convicted of the crime yet again. As such, the defendant’s further petition is not sanctioned. This was proved in one recent case. In it, the defendant filed an appeal to disqualify the trial judge from future post-conviction proceedings. But when the motion was filed, the defendant had no pending cases. The defendant’s petition was thus denied since the motion was void ab initio.

That being said, a defendant can put forward a request to appeal to the Supreme Court of Illinois in hopes that the court will accord his or her request. Such requests are rarely granted. Often, the court accedes to appeals in cases in which interesting legal topics have been settled in different ways by several intermediary courts hearing the case.

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