Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Story Behind the Story


Norm Pattis of Crime & Federalism has done a little bit of digging to come up with this story behind the story of ineffective counsel.

Here's the scoop. On Tuesday, April 18, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Gonzales-Lopez (hat-tip to SCOTUS Blog for this summary).

The case involved a defendant, Gonzales-Lopez, accused of marijuana distribution. Gonzales-Lopez's family hired an attorney, John Fahle to represent him at arraignment, but Gonzales-Lopez learned of another California attorney, John Low, via the Internet and sought to retain Low instead.

The court denied Low's application for pro hac vice and as a result, a second local attorney, Karl Dickhaus was retained as local counsel. The case was Dickhaus' first criminal case in federal court and Low was not permitted to advise Dickhaus or sit with Gonzalez-Lopez; not surprisingly, Gonazales-Lopez was convicted.

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