June 02, 2005

P.D.'s zero, interns zero

Here's some news from that big law school in the U-District in Seattle, about the Innocence Project Northwest (IPNW). To me at least, the moral of this story isn't exactly clear:

Law students defend convicted felon
Innocence Project: last resort for many

It's about a three-strikes guy whose lawyers' oral advocacy at the trial level did not inspire confidence:

"I mean, I will start preparing, but sometimes -- I don't know -- a little sleep might help or something," Samuel told the court.

"You'll have to excuse [my notes]; my kids got a hold of it last night and wrinkled it all up," Gant told the jury.

We old dogs are taught an eternal verity from one of the law student pups:

"In general, if you are poor, you get bad representation"

Finally, the interns on white horses arrive:

The IPW took his case and, two days after Independence Day 2004, he got a second chance at life.

But what's this?

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided his fate last week and upheld his conviction. He had been represented by public defenders in all his other cases, but this time was different.

He was represented in one of the highest courts in the country by two law students from the Innocence Project Northwest (IPNW) at the UW School of Law.

The court's decision is the culmination of a year's worth of preparation for the students.

And that has made all the difference.

(I couldn't find this on the Ninth Circuit's opinions search page, so I'm left to taking the student newspaper's word for it.)

Update: Trial Ad Notes from U-Dub found it:

The 9th Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of habeas corpus relief, rejecting a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel... Easter v. Fleming, 2005 WL 1189611 (9th Cir. May 20, 2005)...

That blog is a good resource, particularly for Washington State practice. Unfortunately, no me Westlaw I.

In one of those curious follow-ups, Trial Ad Notes' next post takes off from a positive profile in the "Washington Law and Politics" of a p.d, who turns out to be the same sleepy lawyer (Samuel) who represented Virgil Easter.

Bonus links:

Bad Dawgs? Unleash the lawyer!

(and for balance) Go Cougs! And keep going! To jail!

(sadly they've got nothing on Boise State's Cam Hall.)