NACDL - McCoy v. Louisiana

McCoy v. Louisiana

Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner. 

Brief filed: 11/20/2017

Documents

McCoy v. Louisiana

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 16-8255

Prior Decision

Decision below 218 So.3d 535 (La. Oct. 19, 2016).

Argument

The accused's express decision whether to concede guilt is protected by the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. Failure to heed a client's decision to maintain his innocence violates fundamental rights. Conceding guilt against a client's express desire compromises the fundamental right to plead not guilty. Conceding guilt against a client's express desire compromises the fundamental right regarding testimony on one's own behalf. A defense lawyer's trial strategy may not override a client's express decision to maintain innocence. Making concessions can be a sound strategy. Regardless of potential strategic advantages, defense lawyers may not override a client's express desire to maintain innocence. Permitting defense lawyers to override a client's desire to maintain innocence undermines the attorney-client relationship. Defense lawyers have strategic options beyond conceding guilt.

Author(s)

Clifford M. Sloan, Paul M. Kerlin, Sylvia Tsakos, and Andrew Hanson, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Washington, DC; Barbara E. Bergman, NACDL, Washington, DC.