Does an attorney’s failure to file an appeal when instructed to do so by the defendant create a presumption of prejudice even though the defendant previously signed an appeal waiver?
The Supreme Court will decide the scope and validity of appeal waivers balanced against a defendant’s right to file an appeal. Gilberto Garza, Jr. contends that Roe v. Flores-Ortega supports the proposition that there is a presumption of prejudice when an attorney fails to file an appeal when instructed, even if the defendant previously signed an appeal waiver and underlying plea bargain. The State of Idaho counters that Flores-Ortega does not create a blanket rule that an attorney’s failure to file prejudices a defendant because the defendant already waived their right and risks additional criminal charges in breaching their plea bargain agreement. The outcome of this case will affect States that use appeal waivers to prevent frivolous appeals in order to promote judicial efficiency and will determine whether an appeal waiver completely bars a defendant from seeking an appeal.
Questions as Framed for the Court by the Parties
Whether the “presumption of prejudice” recognized in Roe v. Flores-Ortega applies when a criminal defendant instructs his trial counsel to file a notice of appeal but trial counsel decides not to do so because the defendant’s plea agreement included an appeal waiver.
- Clark Neily and Jay Schweikert, Garza v. Idaho, CATO Institute (Aug. 17, 2018).
- Dan McCue, Justices to Resolve Circuit Spit Over Appeal Waivers, Courthouse News (June 18, 2018).