The Weekend Roundup

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  • If a criminal defendant is informed by his defense counsel to reject a plea-bargain and go to trial under the advice that the facts giving rise to the charges wouldn’t support the length of the prison term offered in the plea deal, and the defendant accepts the advice, goes to trial, and is convicted of a much lengthier prison term than that offered under the plea deal, did he receive ineffective assistance of counsel? Yes, according to Justice Kennedy writing for the majority in the recent case Lafler v. Cooper. Hadley Arkes at Right Reason, notes in two separate posts, the growing Hobbesian impulse in Supreme Court decisions regarding criminal defendants’ claims for “effective” assistance of counsel. Justice Scalia, Arkes notes, was not persuaded by Justice Kennedy’s reasoning that “[T]he question is not the fairness or reliability of the trial but the fairness and regularity of the processes that preceded it, which caused the defendant to lose benefits he would have received in the ordinary course but for counsel’s ineffective assistance of counsel.” A fair trial, it would seem, is no longer the thing itself in due process claims for effective counsel.
  • Eugene Volokh on the Iranian cartoonist sentenced to 25 lashes for lampooning a member of the Iranian parliament.
  • Point of Law notes that Rob Cordray, Director of the CFPB, is building a case that his agency should regulate bank overdraft fees, which Cordray maintains are manifestly unfair.
  • Marc Hodak on the new “Say on Pay” policy and shareholder wealth.
  • John Murray writes in the WSJ on the Vanderbilt religious all-comers policy: “Ironically, the very freedom Vanderbilt administrators have to make their unfortunate decision derives from a 19th-century Supreme Court case that led to the proliferation of Christian colleges such as Vanderbilt, founded under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1873.”
  • Eric Kaufmann writes at The American on the interesting demographic future facing the West.