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Can a Lawyer Plead a Client "Guilty" When the Client Insists He Is "Not Guilty"?

There is an interesting case accepted for argument in the Supreme Court this month. In McCoy v. Lousiana, Robert McCoy was tried of three counts of first-degree murder for the 2008 shooting deaths of Christine and Willie Young in Louisiana. Although McCoy steadfastly said he was innocent, his lawyer conceded McCoy's guilt in an unsuccessful attempt to spare his life from the death penalty.  Now, the Supreme Court will hear an oral argument on whether the lawyer's decision was a reasonable way to try to save his client's life or a violation of McCoy's constitutional rights, entitling him to a new trial.

Tim Zerillo is a Maine lawyer, speaker and legal writer who practices in State and Federal Courts in Maine, in the First Circuit Court of Appeals and in the Supreme Court of the United States. 

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