Some exciting news. Today, the Supreme Court granted cert. in the capital habeas case of Martinez v. Ryan. According to SCOTUSblog, the issue in the case is:
Whether a defendant in a state criminal case who is prohibited by state law from raising on direct appeal any claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel, but who has a state-law right to raise such a claim in a first post-conviction proceeding, has a federal constitutional right to effective assistance of first post-conviction counsel specifically with respect to his ineffective-assistance-of-trial-counsel claim
That's an interesting issue with potentially a huge impact on the criminal justice system. In an earlier post, I discussed a different petition that the Supreme Court was considering raising the same issue: Cook v. Arizona. From that case, we know that the real underlying question is whether a defendant has the right to actually have an attorney represent him at this type of collateral proceeding. If the answer is yes, the ripple effect will be huge.