The Supreme Court of the United States will soon issue rulings in two cases where "bad advice" from a lawyer may result (or may not result) in a defendant getting a trial that they claim they should have received in the first place. In both cases, the defendants waived their constitutional right to a trial and took a plea deal offered by the prosecution. The vast majority of defendants do this rather than risk the outcome of a trial. However, both of the defendants in these US Supreme Court cases claim that they would have opted for trial had they not received really bad advice from their lawyers. The US Supreme Court (and all state supreme courts) all agree that a defendant has a absolute constitutional right to trial. However, the Court will now have to answer whether a defendant has a constitutional right to an informed plea deal.
See the article in the New York Times here for more discussion of this issue.
Regardless of the outcome of this decision, these cases make it more clear than ever that getting experienced and effective counsel from an experienced and competent lawyer is incredibly important - and that just because the lawyer you are dealing with passed the bar exam does not mean that he or she is automatically qualified to practice criminal law and give you advice about criminal law.
Stay tuned for this one.