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Cases On Right to Counsel, Searches Top Supreme Court's 2011-2012 Term

Publication Date: 
August 07, 2012
United States law Week (BNA)
Lance J. Rogers

Professor Jeffrey L. Fisher reacts to the Supreme Court's 2011-2012 Term and comments on the cases that he thinks will have the most dramatic effect on the American public. His quote can be found in the following United States Law Week article by Lance J. Rogers.

Opinions issued this year by the U.S. Supreme Court on the right to counsel and searches could have a big impact on the way criminal attorneys practice law, according to legal experts who spoke to BNA about the 2011-2012 term.

Among the most significant decisions, these experts said, are Missouri v. Frye, 2012 BL 67235, 80 U.S.L.W. 4253 (U.S. 2012), and Lafler v. Cooper, 2012 BL 67236, 80 U.S.L.W. 4244 (U.S. 2012), which clarified that a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance may be violated when a defendant misses out on a favorable plea offer due to defense counsel's erroneous advice or failure to even convey the offer.

"Those two cases will have the most dramatic ripple effect," as they recognize that plea negotiations make up the bulk of the criminal justice system and are not simply an occasional adjunct, Professor Jeffrey L. Fisher, of Stanford Law School's Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, told BNA.


In Fisher's view, plea negotiations and sentencing are two of the "blind spots" in the criminal justice system. In prior years, the court has devoted a lot of attention to the constitutional issues in the trial process itself, but it is now focusing on the back and front ends of the system, he said.

"The court is bringing the constitution to bear on a process virtually every criminal defendant is a part of," he said.