Lawyer competence was the topic of the day at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, as justices heard two cases involving claims of ineffective assistance of counsel that violated the Sixth Amendment.

In one, a lawyer’s flawed advice exposed his client to deportation. In the other, the defense lawyer in a capital case called his client sick and twisted during a closing argument, and minimized mitigating evidence that might have helped avoid the death penalty.

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