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