For the first time, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that defendants have a constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel in plea bargains. In a 5-4 decision Wednesday, the court went further, declaring that when a lawyer acts unethically or gives clearly wrong advice, the defendant may be entitled to a second chance at accepting a plea offer.
Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 7:44 pm
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
We don't know how common the experience of Robert Collins was but in the age of social media, perhaps it was inevitable. Mr. Collins was a corrections officer in Maryland. He took a leave of absence after his mother died, and then reapplied for his job. And he had to go through a security interview.
During the interview, Mr. Collins was asked a question that he had never been asked before during the process. He was asked for his Facebook username and password. Robert Collins joins us from Towson, Maryland. Welcome to the program.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in two murder cases testing whether it is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment to sentence a 14-year-old to life in prison without the possibility of parole. There are currently 79 people serving such life terms for crimes committed when they were 14 or younger.