Friday, December 02, 2005

Riggs v. Fairman (9th Cir. - Nov. 30, 2005)

Toughie for me. Toughie for them.

I previously commented on the panel's opinion in this case, noting that it was a difficult case and that I couldn't entirely figure out which side I agreed with -- Judge Rawlinson's opinion or Judge Bea's dissent. Which is pretty darn rare for me. So I called it a "toughie". (The issue is basically about the proper remedy for an undisputed ineffective assistance of counsel. In a case that really, really looks bad: a homeless person who shoplifts a bottle of vitamins, gets offered a five-year deal that's rejected by his incompetent lawyer, and then is sentenced to a mandatory 25 years to life. Do we keep the dude in jail for 25 or give him the 5 year deal?)

Anyway, I apparently wasn't the only one who thought this was a toughie. The Ninth Circuit voted to take the case en banc. So we'll see how this one comes out down the road. Should be interesting.