WASHINGTON: The US Supreme Court ordered a new trial on Monday for a Louisiana man whose lawyer told a jury he had committed a triple murder despite his claims of innocence.
In a 6-3 ruling, the top US court said the lawyer in the case should have abided by the wishes of accused murderer Robert McCoy.
McCoy, now 44, was convicted in 2011 of shooting to death the mother, stepfather, and son of his estranged wife, Yolanda, in May 2008 in their Bossier City, Louisiana, home.
Despite a preponderance of evidence and a dubious alibi, McCoy insisted that he was innocent of the murders.
During his trial, McCoy's lawyer, Larry English, ignored his client's objections and told the jury McCoy had killed the three victims.
During the penalty phase, English once again conceded McCoy's guilt, but urged mercy in light of his "mental and emotional issues".
The Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the conviction but the Supreme Court disagreed.
"Larry English was placed in a difficult position; he had an unruly client and faced a strong government case," the court said.
"He reasonably thought the objective of his representation should be avoidance of the death penalty.
"Once he communicated that to court and counsel, strenuously objecting to English's proposed strategy, a concession of guilt should have been off the table," the court said.