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WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 2014 -- The American Bar Association commends the Justice Department for its decision to stop asking criminal defendants who plead guilty to waive their right to claim that their attorney was ineffective.
Of the Justice Department’s 94 attorney’s offices, 59 already do not use the waiver and successfully perform their duties. Under this new policy, as Attorney General Eric Holder said, “no defendant will have to forego their right to able representation in the course of pleading guilty to a crime.”
The ABA urged Mr. Holder to do away with the policy last year.
Respect for the integrity of the criminal justice system requires a fair process, conflict-free defense counsel and the proper administration of justice. With a high percentage of criminal cases decided by guilty pleas, the routine use of waivers of ineffective assistance of counsel can create a conflict of interest and insulate attorney conduct from judicial review.
(Media contact: Matthew.Cimento@americanbar.org)
Please click here for a biography and photo of William C. Hubbard, president of the American Bar Association.
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