Constitutional Right to Effective Defense Counsel

Under both the Michigan and federal Constitutions, a defendant thas the right to an attorney who is effective. The analysis used by courts to determine whether there was ineffective assistance of counsel is complicated.

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US Supreme Court to decide a case regarding ineffective assistance of counsel

The United States Supreme Court started its new term on October 5, 2015. On that date, it agreed to decide the case of Maryland v Kulbicki, a case dealing with the issue of “ineffective assistance of counsel.” In that case, Mr. Kulbicki was convicted of a 1995 murder. Mr. Kulbicki appealed, claiming his attorneys were ineffective. The basis for that claim was a test commonly used that determined similarities in bullets to the extent that the bullets likely came from the same package. This test was known as the Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis (C.B.L.A.). The report from the ballistics expert was available, but Mr. Kulicki’s counsel did not attempt to get a copy of it.

By the time Court heard the appeal in 2006, the C.B.L.A. test was no longer commonly used and was disfavored by most courts. The Maryland Court of Appeals decided that the defense attorney should have gotten the report, spotted the test’s flaws, and used those flaws to cast doubt on the test during his cross-examination.

The United States Supreme Court determined that there was no way that defense counsel could have foreseen that a test that was commonly used would be disfavored 11 years later. The Maryland Court of Appeals was wrong because to decide otherwise would be to expect perfect representation by defense counsel, which is an unreachable standard.

The United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on this case sometime during its term, ending in the Spring of 2016.

Appealing a Case of Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

The current standard for determining ineffective assistance of counsel is found in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). The court announced a two-prong test to determine if counsel is ineffective. The first prong is whether counsel’s performance was so deficient that it fell before the objective standard of reasonableness. Whether the deficiency in legal representation was prejudicial to the defendant is the test’s second prong. In other words, “but for” the attorney’s deficient performance, the result would have been different? This standard is pretty high.

If you feel that your attorney was ineffective in representing you, it is essential to have the situation reviewed to protect your interests and rights. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have handled many appeals for clients who did not receive effective assistance of counsel during trial, plea process, and sentencing. Our attorneys feel strongly that a person needs the best legal representation available. If that is not provided, then ineffective assistance of counsel claim may be appropriate, and a person can have another chance with an attorney who will do it right. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. will be happy to review any case for possible appeal and a possible claim for ineffective assistance of counsel. We will give an unbiased opinion of whether or not an appeal may be successful.

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Effective, Affordable, and Aggressive Defense Attorneys

The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. make it a point to be the best-prepared attorneys in any courtroom they enter. It is essential to the attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. that our clients get the best representation available. Our attorneys have sterling reputations and track records of success in and out of the courtroom. They are often sought out as speakers at continuing legal education events. When you are in trouble, you want the best legal help you can get: LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. Our attorneys take our obligation to protect our clients seriously and will zealously and passionately make sure that all constitutional rights are protected. Call the “go-to” attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. when your freedom is at stake. We are here to help

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

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