Contrary to what most people think; lawyers are human too. And like most humans lawyers can and do make mistakes. Trust me, I have made mistakes, like any other lawyer or human.
In civil cases, if the mistake cannot me undone, or causes financial harm to a client, the lawyer has an obligation and hopefully the means to make the client whole. I have legal malpractice insurance and advise any lawyer to have it too, just in case.
In criminal cases, a lawyer’s mistake can be irreparable. Especially when deadlines are missed. Our constitution guarantees the right to a lawyer when faced with a serious crime. Apparently no lawyer is better than some lawyers. For Albert Holland, Florida’s 11th Circuit Court ruled that when his lawyer missed a deadline to file his petition for habeas corpus, it was too late and too bad.
I am horrified to think that a presumably innocent man will spend his life in prison, or perhaps lose his life because his lawyer missed a deadline. How is that justice?
Our US Supreme Court has the opportunity to save this man and my faith in our system this week when it hears Holland’s case. Let’s hope they do the right thing for Albert Holland and our broader interest in justice.