Brief Fact Summary. Respondent presented his appointed counsel with a list of claims on which to base his appeal. His attorney found these to be untenable, and proceeded to argue the appeal on different grounds. Respondent now claims ineffective assistance of counsel.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The Sixth Amendment’s “effective assistance of counsel” standard does not require a court-appointed attorney to argue every nonfrivolous point raised by his client.
Appellate counsel does not have a constitutional duty to raise every nonfrivolous issue requested by a defendant.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Does court-assigned defense counsel in a criminal case have a constitutional duty to raise every nonfrivolous issue suggested by the Defendant?
Held. No. Reversed.
“No decision of this Court suggests that an indigent defendant has a constitutional right to compel appointed counsel to press nonfrivolous points requested by the client, if counsel, as a matter of professional judgment, decides not to present those points.