Brief for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union as Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioner.
Argument: Ineffective assistance of counsel in an initial-review collateral proceeding should excuse the default of a substantial ineffective-assistance-of-appellate-counsel claim. The right to effective appellate counsel is critically important to the fair administration of criminal justice. Defendants cannot raise ineffective assistance of appellate counsel on direct appeal and are ill-equipped to present that claim on collateral review without counsel’s assistance. Unless Martinez applies to appellate-ineffectiveness claims, attorney error in the initial-review collateral proceeding will likely deprive the prisoner of any opportunity for review.
Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner (on Petition for Writ of Certiorari).
Argument: The circuit split makes Rule 60(b)'s safety valve of relief from judgment in "extraordinary" cases available only to prisoners in certain circuits. Deciding whether Martinez and Trevino can ever for part of the basis for "extraordinary circumstances" justifying Rule 60(b) relief is particularly important in capital cases. Gonzalez held that intervening supreme court decisions are not sufficient for Rule 60(b) relief, but did not hold such decisions could not form part of the basis for such relief.