The Constitutional Limits of Client-Centered Decision Making

Todd A. Berger *

Some years ago in a courtroom in Philadelphia, I found myself in a rather troubling predicament. My client threatened to stab me with a pen. I was his defense attorney. My client had been charged with a gunpoint robbery. He was picked out of a random photo array by the complainant a few days after the incident occurred. If we lost the trial, he was going to receive a sentence of at least ten to twenty years in prison.

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*Associate Professor, Syracuse University College of Law. I am extremely grateful to the 2015 Clinical Writers‘ Workshop for giving me the opportunity to present this particular piece. I owe a special thanks to Professors Keith Findley, Jenny Roberts, Vida Johnson, and Joy Radice. Additional thanks are owed to Professors Lauryn Gouldin, Ann Pfeiffer, Jason Hoge, J.C. Lore, and Aliza Milner. I am extremely grateful to Megan Brooks, Victoria Radcliffe, and Cory Schoonmaker for their excellent research assistance. Lastly, a special thank you is owed to Hedimay Berger and Beverly Beaver for their editing, feedback, and general willingness to discuss this article far more than either of them would have liked.