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Kowalski v. Tesmer

543 U.S. 125 (2004)

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Kowalski v. Tesmer

United States Supreme Court

543 U.S. 125 (2004)

Facts

Michigan passed an amendment to its constitution stating that appeals of guilty pleas were no longer a right but rather allowed at the pleasure of the court. As a result, several courts ruled that indigent defendants who appealed guilty pleas would not receive counsel appointed by the court. Two lawyers, Arthur Fitzgerald and Michael Vogler (plaintiffs), along with a group of indigent clients who included John Tesmer (plaintiffs), sued in federal district court. The lawyers asserted third-party standing on behalf of future clients who would not be able to get representation. The district court agreed with the lawyers and issued an injunction, stopping courts from denying appointed counsel. The circuit court upheld the ruling of the district court. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)

Concurrence (Thomas, J.)

Dissent (Ginsburg, J.)

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