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Supreme Court to weigh ineffective assistance of counsel in death penalty plea bargain

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Monday granted certiorari [Order List, PDF] in Arave v. Hoffman (07-110) [docket; cert. petition, PDF] to consider whether a death row inmate in Idaho should be able to accept a plea bargain after his conviction based on an argument that the deal was rejected because of bad advice from his lawyer. Convicted of murder in 1989, Maxwell Alton appealed and argued that he should be allowed to take the plea bargain after the fact. Alton initially rejected the plea bargain due to his lawyer's advice that that Idaho's death penalty system would soon be overturned.

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit accepted Hoffman's argument [opinion, PDF] and ordered the lower court to direct the state to release Hoffman or offer him the original plea bargain. AP has more.

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