The Supreme Court said today it would hear an Idaho death penalty case in which a defendant says his lawyers gave him bad advice by telling him to reject a plea deal that would have spared him a death sentence, reports the Associated Press. Maxwell Hoffman was sentenced to death in 1989 in a murder case. He appealed, claiming he should be allowed to take the deal prosecutors offered.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said the state must either release Hoffman or offer him a plea deal that he originally turned down, allowing him to plead guilty in exchange for prosecutors no longer seeking the death penalty. Hoffman was one of three men charged with the murder of a police informant in a drug deal. The other two defendants avoided the death penalty. Hoffman, refused to plead guilty, even though prosecutors told him that if he refused the plea deal they would seek the death penalty.