The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to impose a constitutional duty on lawyers to consult with convicted clients about an appeal. But the ruling’s not-so-subtle message is that in “the vast majority of cases,” lawyers should do just that.

In Roe v. Flores-Ortega, No. 98-1441, a 6-3 high court vacated and remanded a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which granted federal habeas relief on Lucio Flores-Ortega’s claim that he received ineffective assistance of counsel when his defense lawyer failed to file a notice of appeal after promising to do so.

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