In McCoy v. Lousiana, the United States Supreme Court will address the issue of who has the authority to control the decision to admit guilt, the lawyer or the client. Can the Lawyer for strategy reasons, concede guilt to avoid the death penalty? This was the issue facing a criminal defense lawyer who despite his client’s wishes conceded guilty to spare his client the death penalty. The strategy failed. His client appealed to the United States Supreme Court arguing that a lawyer cannot concede guilty over his clear objection.
The defendant wanted to maintain his innocence, but the lawyer disagreed and required the defendant plead guilty in order to avoid the death penalty. The issue raised by this case is that even if it is a good strategy to concede guilt, can the lawyer make that decision over the client’s objection.
In a criminal case, there are certain decisions that the client has absolute control over: