We’ve been monitoring the case of Alabama Death Row Inmate Cory Maples, who had very bad indigent defense counsel even though they were a swanky New York law firm with a prestigious reputation.
U.S. Supreme Court Issues Opinion in Maples v. Thomas
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Cory Maples’ case, and Mr. Maples has won his new hearing.
Abandoned the client. That’s serious language.
But the High Court doesn’t stop there. In a majority opinion authored by Justice Ruth Ginsberg, the entire indigent defense system of the State of Alabama is also scruntized and found lacking.
Of note, the fact that Alabama law does not insure that the attorneys who represent indigent capital defendants have any special expertise or training, nor does Alabama guarantee indigent defense representation to poor capital defendants in postconviction proceedings.
The clincher: in the opinion, Ginsberg also criticizes the pay rate for the indigent defense attorneys who take on these death penalty cases.
Which is pointing at the elephant in the room that we’ve been writing about on this blog for almost three years now.