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On October 31, 2011, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the cases Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye. The question in both cases revolves around what happens when a criminal defendant receives deficient legal advice.
In Lafler v. Cooper, the Court considered whether a criminal defendant who rejects a favorable plea offer based on his lawyer’s advice but who later is convicted and receives a harsher sentence can seek to overturn that sentence on the grounds that his attorney was unconstitutionally deficient.
Missouri v. Frye considered whether a criminal defendant whose lawyer failed to communicate a plea offer from the prosecution can make a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel against the lawyer, and what the courts should do for a defendant in this situation who is later convicted and sentenced.
To discuss the cases, we have Kent Scheidegger, who is the Legal Director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.