USA:n korkeimmalta oikeudelta ratkaisu asianajajan syyteneuvotteluissa antamasta ohjeistuksesta

30.12.2013 | Oikeusuutiset

Markku Fredman

USA:n korkein oikeus on hiljattain antamassaan ratkaisussa katsonut, että asianajajan antama neuvo siitä, että jo hyväksytty syyteneuvotteluissa saavutettu tunnustaminen peruutetaan, ei ollut merkinnyt siten fundamentaalia virhettä, että asiassa olisi ollut syytä kumota täysimittaisessa oikeudenkäynnissä annettua tuomiota.

Asialla on suomalaisesesta näkökulmasta merkitystä ennen kaikkea niissä tulevaisuudessa aktualisoituvissa jutuissa, joissa käydään syyteneuvotteluita. Huolimatta siitä, että syyteneuvottelua koskeva lainsäädäntö ei vielä ole voimassa, siitä on annettu hallituksen esitys, ja laki on mitä ilmeisimmin – enemmän tai vähemmän hallituksen esityksestä muutettuna – astumassa voimaan lähitulevaisuudessa.

Korkeimman oikeuden tuomiosta:

The record does not reveal how much Toca was able to glean
about respondent’s case from other sources; he may well have obtainedcopies of
the critical materials from prosecutors or the court. (Indeed, Toca’s statement
at the plea withdrawalhearing that “[t]here’s a lot of material here”
stronglysuggests that he did have access to a source of documentation other
than Lustig’s file. App. 71.)

In any event, the same considerations were relevant
toentering and withdrawing the guilty plea, and respondentadmitted in open
court when initially pleading guilty thatLustig had explained the State’s
evidence and that this evidence would support a conviction for first-degree
murder. Toca was justified in relying on this admission to conclude that
respondent understood the strength of theprosecution’s case and nevertheless
wished to withdrawthe plea. With respondent having knowingly entered theguilty
plea, we think any confusion about the strength of the State’s evidence upon
withdrawing the plea less than a month later highly unlikely.

Despite our conclusion that there was no factual or legal
justification for overturning the state court’s decision, we recognize that
Toca’s conduct in this litigation was far from exemplary. He may well have
violated the rules of professional conduct by accepting respondent’s
publicationrights as partial payment for his services, and he waited weeks
before consulting respondent’s first lawyer aboutthe case. But the Sixth
Amendment does not guaranteethe right to perfect counsel; it promises only the
right toeffective assistance, and we have held that a lawyer’sviolation of
ethical norms does not make the lawyer per se ineffective. See Mickens v.
Taylor, 535 U. S. 162, 171 (2002). Troubling as Toca’s actions were, they were
irrelevant to the narrow question that was before the Sixth Circuit: whether
the state court reasonably determined that respondent was adequately advised
before deciding towithdraw the guilty plea. Because the Michigan Court of
Appeals’ decision that respondent was so advised is reasonable and supported by
the record, the Sixth Circuit’sjudgment is reversed.


Koko tuomio löytyy täältä: 11/05/13 – Burt v. Titlow

Asiaan liittyvät kirjelmät löytyvät täältä: Burt v. Titlow, 12-414

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