Let’s start with a hypothetical case. Two men, inmates in the same prison, write my office for help. Both have been convicted as participants in the same loan company holdup. The first man says he’s innocent. He was tucked in with his girlfriend at the time of the robbery, but the jury didn’t believe her. The second man doesn’t deny taking part in the crime, but complains that he was never told that as an indigent he had a right to free counsel. Jailhouse lawyers have told him this is a sufficient violation of rights afforded him by the Miranda decision to win him a new trial.
We write the first man: There is nothing we can do for you; innocence is not important once you’re in the can. But we tell the second man he has a sixty-forty chance of winning a new trial. He writes back to say that’s fine, and that a relative will be in with a retainer. “By the way,” he adds, referring to the robber, “the other guy who wrote you wasn’t there. I know, because I was.” The revelation won’t change anything. 
KeywordsMalpractice Claim Model Penal Code Insanity Defense Involuntary Hospitalization Binding Decision
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