Charting its own course on when criminal lawyers may forgo appeals, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has broken with six other circuits to hold that a plea bargain that includes a promise to waive all appeals means what it says.

Six circuits have held that a waiver of appeal in plea bargain cases does not relieve counsel of a duty to file a notice of appeal at the client’s request. Waivers are not airtight, and if a defendant wants a lawyer to argue that the plea was involuntary, he or she has that right. Failure to do so would be considered automatic ineffective assistance of counsel, according to the prior precedents.

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