Garza v. Idaho

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Appellate Procedure
  • Date Filed: June 18, 2018
  • Case #: 17-1026
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 405 P.3d 576, 579 (2017)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether the "presumption of prejudice" recognized in Roe v. Flores-Oretega applies where a criminal defendant instructs his trial counsel to file a notice of appeal but trial counsel decides not to do so because the defendant's plea agreement included an appeal waiver?

Petitioner entered into two plea deals in which he waived his right to appeal. Petitioner later instructed his attorney to file an appeal, but his attorney refused based on the waivers. Petitioner filed a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, which requires a defendant to prove that his counsel’s defense was deficient and prejudiced his defense. In Roe v. Flores-Ortega, 528 U.S. 470, 485 (2000), the U.S. Supreme Court held that when counsel fails to file a notice of appeal, a defendant is entitled to a “presumption of prejudice.” The district court denied Petitioner’s claim, holding that Petitioner was not entitled to a “presumption of prejudice” because he previously waived his right to appeal.  The Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Idaho affirmed. There is a circuit split regarding whether a defendant is entitled to a “presumption of prejudice” if they previously waived their right to appeal as part of a plea deal. Only a minority of circuits require a defendant to prove actual prejudice. The U.S. Supreme Court has granted certiorari to decide this issue. Petitioner argues that the minority position is a denial of his Sixth Amendment rights to “competent counsel and a counseled direct appeal.”  Petitioner further asserts that even the broadest waiver does not withhold certain issues from appellate review, including whether the plea and waiver were entered into voluntarily and competently.

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