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Williams v. Jones

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
 571 F.3d 1086 (2009)


Facts

Williams (plaintiff) was charged with first-degree murder. Williams wanted to accept an offer made during plea bargaining. Williams’ attorney advised him that he would commit perjury if he pled guilty and told Williams he would not represent him if he pled guilty. Williams declined the plea offer. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. On appeal, the state court sent the case back to the trial court for a hearing to determine whether Williams was given ineffective assistance of counsel during plea bargaining. The trial court held that Williams had received ineffective assistance but that he had not been prejudiced by it. On appeal, the state appellate court upheld the trial court’s finding of ineffective assistance of counsel and held that Williams was prejudiced by it because he lost the opportunity to accept the plea offer due to his attorney’s advice. The court reduced his sentence to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Williams argued that this remedy was insufficient and petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus in federal district court. The court denied his petition, and Williams appealed to the federal court of appeals.

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Holding and Reasoning (Per Curiam)

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Dissent (Gorsuch, J.)

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