"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Back to Legal Stuff

Blonde Justice has quandry. Her co-counsel in a joint trial of co-defendants is apparently incompetent. Even the lawyer's client is begging Blonde to let the trial judge know. I'm sure the trial judge probably does know, but can't realistically do much about it. The shame is, even if the state gets the conviction, the case might end up being re-tried should a reviewing court agree that the attorney's performance was ineffective. Often in such cases I try to intervene as tactfully as possible to prevent at least the grossest mistakes... but it's hard for a prosecutor to get too much into second-guessing whether an attorney is just incompetent, or actually pursuing some type of trial strategy.

One proposed (at least partial) solution for Blonde's problem would be to allow appellate defenders to raise ineffectiveness claims in conjunction with the direct appeal rather than the current method of having to exhaust the direct appeal and then institute a separate habeas action, a cumbersome, lengthy, expensive state of affairs.

Call it one-stop shopping for addressing trial errors.

1 comment:

Donald R. McClarey said...

I'd talk to the other attorney politely, and if that did no good, and I suspect it wouldn't, I'd file a motion for a mistrial with the court. Doubtless it would be denied, but several things would be accomplished by doing so: it would help preserve the issue for appeal, place the trial court on notice that there is a real problem here and, hopefully, wake up the other attorney. To me the primary issue is that the other attorney is having a negative impact on her case. When that happens in a criminal case, I think a defense attorney has to take fairly drastic action.