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July 11, 2005

Interesting 4th Circuit ruling on right to counsel

Today in US v. Taylor, No. 04-4104 (4th Cir. July 11, 2005) (available here), the Fourth Circuit addressed whether a criminal defendant has "a federal constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel with regard to a post-conviction, post-direct appeal motion for reduction of sentence made by the government pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35(b)."  In Taylor, the Fourth Circuit panel "answer[s] this question in the negative."  That is, the Fourth Circuit concludes, "neither the Constitution's equal protection guarantees nor due process guarantees provide criminal defendants a right to effective assistance of counsel with respect to a motion by the government pursuant to Rule 35(b)."

Beyond is core holding (and some notable due process talk), Taylor provides an interesting window into the often overlooked world of post-sentence Rule 35(b) motions by the government for a sentence reduction based on the defendant providing substantial assistance.

July 11, 2005 at 04:41 PM | Permalink

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