Thursday, September 11, 2008

Osagiede v. United States

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decided Osagiede v. United States (opinion here). The issue in this habeas filing was whether the petitioner-appellant, a Nigerian national who had pled guilty to one count of heroin distribution and was sentenced to more than eight years imprisonment, was entitled to an evidentiary hearing on his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. The ineffectiveness claim centered on "whether Osagiede’s counsel was ineffective for failing to seek a remedy for the [uncontested Vienna Convention on Consular Relations] Article 36 violation." Judge Cudahy, writing for a panel that also included Judges Ripple and Rovner, reversed the district court and found that an ineffectiveness claim based on counsel's failure to seek a remedy for a VCCR Article 36 violation is cognizable. A hearing, therefore, was warranted. The petitioner's case was argued by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; the Government was represented by the Office of the Solicitor General.