Ellis v. Harrison

Man convicted of 1989 murder learns, years later, that his appointed counsel was virulently racist. (To cite but one example, counsel referred to one of his clients as a “nigger” who “got what he deserved”—a death sentence, later overturned.) Man: I have a Sixth Amendment right to effective counsel, which I didn’t get. I should get a new trial. Ninth Circuit: No. You didn’t show his racism adversely affected his performance. All three judges, concurring in their own judgment: We think an attorney who shows contempt and indifference to a minority client is not providing competent representation. Unfortunately, we’re bound by Ninth Circuit precedent.

Tags: 2018, Ninth Circuit, Right to Counsel, Sixth Amendment

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