Evitts v. Lucey 469 U.S. 387 (1985)

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EVITTS v. LUCEY 469 U.S. 387 (1985)

Interpreting douglas v. california (1963), the Supreme Court held, 7–2, in an opinion by Justice william j. brennan, that the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment requires the effective assistance of counsel during a defendant's first appeal, as of right, from a criminal conviction. (The Court had previously held that the right to counsel at the trial level comprehended effective assistance.) The procedural posture of this case made it unnecessary to spell out standards for judging the effectiveness of counsel on appeal; the Court thus left those standards for another day. Justice william h. rehnquist and Chief Justice warren e. burger dissented, arguing that the trial and appellate levels presented different degrees of need for counsel's assistance, and predicting that the decision would allow convicted defendants to "tie up the courts" with petitions for habeas corpus based on claims of ineffectiveness of appellate counsel.

Kenneth L. Karst