O.J. Simpson Case Puts Spotlight On Issue of Inadequate Defense Lawyering


O.J. Simpson’s appeal for a new trial sheds light on an issue affecting countless lesser-known defendants: bad lawyering, says the Christian Science Monitor. Along the way, he might get a helping hand from the U.S. Supreme Court. Simpson wants to overturn his conviction on armed robbery and kidnapping of sports memorabilia dealers in 2007. He says his counsel was inadequate and that his lawyer misled co-counsel.

Squabbles between lawyers and their clients and co-counsels are not uncommon, says Robert Pugsley, a professor at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. “Most clients in this situation are so poor or low on the economic scale that their bad lawyering doesn't get much attention, and so the issue remains largely unnoticed,” he adds. “Whether Simpson prevails or not, this proceeding has a great chance to put the spotlight on this widespread problem. Maryland lawyer Rene Sandler says, “He actually has a case with merits, but these are extreme, uphill battles because you are asking a court to substitute its own judgment, years later with faded memories, for that of the judge at the time.”

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