Court to rule when lawyer says 'guilty,' but client objects

AP News
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Posted: Sep 28, 2017 10:32 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will consider a case about whether it violates the Constitution when a lawyer ignores his client's instructions and concedes his guilt.

A Louisiana man was facing murder charges. His lawyer was hoping to avoid the death penalty for his client when he told jurors in his opening statement that the defendant "committed these crimes."

But here's the problem: Defendant Robert McCoy repeatedly proclaimed his innocence and objected to his lawyer's approach.

The legal strategy failed. A jury sentenced McCoy to death for killing the son, mother and step-father of his estranged wife in 2008.

McCoy's parents hired lawyer Larry English to represent their son.

English failed to persuade McCoy that the evidence against him was so strong that he should accept a plea deal.