Martel v. Clair - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 03-13-12 featuring Ronald Eisenberg

March 13, 2012

Ronald Eisenberg

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  Martel v. Clair - Post-Decision SCOTUScast - MP3
Running Time: 00:08:00

Ronald EisenbergOn March 5, 2012, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Martel v. Clair. The question in this case was whether a state prisoner on death row is entitled to replace his court-appointed attorney with a new court-appointed attorney on the grounds that--according to the prisoner--the first court-appointed attorney had failed to pursue potentially important evidence relating to prisoner’s case.  The federal district court had denied the prisoner’s request, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit determined that the “interests of justice” standard applied in non-capital cases should govern the prisoner’s request for substitution of counsel, and directed the lower court to reconsider the prisoner’s request.

In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Kagan, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Ninth Circuit and remanded the case for further proceedings.  The Court agreed that the “interests of justice” should apply, but held that the federal district court had not abused its discretion in denying the prisoner’s request for new counsel.

To discuss the case, we have Ronald Eisenberg, who is the Deputy District Attorney for the Law Division at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.

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Related Links

Opinion - March 5, 2012 (PDF)
Oral Argument Transcript - December 6, 2012 (PDF)
Martel v. Clair - Post-Argument SCOTUScast