The U.S. Supreme Court has split sharply over what a lawyer must do if a client wants to file a criminal appeal that the lawyer considers frivolous.

In Smith v. Robbins, No. 98-1037, the 5-4 high court reversed a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which had struck down California’s procedures for lawyers in those situations as failing to satisfy a defendant’s constitutional right to counsel on first appeal.

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