WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court says a lawyer for a criminal defendant cannot override the defendant's wish to maintain his innocence at trial. That's so even if the lawyer's aim is to avoid a death sentence for his client.
The justices ruled 6-3 Monday in favor of Louisiana death row inmate Robert McCoy. He repeatedly objected to his lawyer's decision to acknowledge that McCoy killed the son, mother and step-father of his estranged wife in 2008.
Lawyer Larry English said the evidence of McCoy's guilt was overwhelming. English said his strategy was to seek a sentence of life in prison instead of death.
But jurors sentenced McCoy to death anyway. He could get a new trial based on the high court's ruling.
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