Friday, July 15, 2005

Effective assistance of counsel opinion issued by Fourth Circuit

In United States v. Taylor, the Fourth Circuit considered whether a criminal defendant has a federal constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel with regard to a post-conviction, post-direct appeal motion for reduction of sentence made by the government pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35(b). The court held there is no such right:

Because a defendant has no federal constitutional right to counsel when pursuing a discretionary appeal on direct review of his conviction, a fortiori, he has no such right when the government makes a motion which can only benefit him by reducing his already final sentence.

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