The United States Supreme Court
United States Supreme Court determines the standard for ineffective legal representation. If a defendant’s attorney was ineffective, they might have a right to a new trial.
How bad does a lawyer have to be for a court to find they provided ineffective legal representation?
The United States Supreme Court has decided to hear the case of Woods v Donald. This Michigan case involved an allegation that an attorney provided ineffective legal representation because he was outside the courtroom for approximately 15 minutes during a jury trial involving multiple defendants. The testimony was unrelated to his client. The Michigan courts decided that “no harm, no foul.” There was nothing relevant to the defendant going on, so the fact that his attorney was not in the courtroom was of no concern and not ineffective.
The Supreme Court is being asked to overrule the 1984 case of United States v Cronic. In that case, Cronic was being tried on mail fraud charges. The trial court appointed a young lawyer to represent the defendant, who had never tried a case before. The attorney was only allowed 25 days to prepare; the government had had almost 5 (field) years to investigate and prepare. Mr. Cronic was convicted. The Court of Appeals reversed the conviction based not on the performance of counsel but instead by inferring ineffective assistance of counsel because of the time given to defense counsel, the experience of counsel, the gravity of the charges, and the complexity of possible defenses.
The Supreme Court overruled the Court of Appeals, saying that the lower court was wrong for inferring ineffective assistance. To claim ineffective legal assistance or representation, a defendant must point to specific errors made by trial counsel.
How does someone hire a new lawyer if they feel they are receiving ineffective assistance of counsel?
Under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, a criminal defendant is entitled to legal representation of their choosing. Unless switching lawyers damages the government’s case, for example, by causing a delay, a judge should always permit a defendant to hire a new criminal defense lawyer. Clients frequently worry about offending their current attorney or upsetting the court if they desire a new lawyer. Judges and prosecutors want defendants to be satisfied with their lawyers because it avoids an appeal claiming ineffective legal representation. If a defense attorney cares about their client, they will similarly want them to be satisfied with their legal representation. Most lawyers do not want to represent a dissatisfied client and risk a complaint or claim of ineffective legal representation. Suppose you are unsatisfied with your lawyer, and your dispute with that attorney cannot be resolved to your satisfaction. In that case, it is generally best to hire a new lawyer that you trust to protect and defend you adequately.
Effective Legal Representation You Can Count On
The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are outstanding and well respected. Our lawyers are some of the top Michigan criminal defense attorneys. There are thousands of lawyers in Southeastern Michigan. However, very few Michigan criminal defense attorneys specialize in criminal law. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. only accept cases that involve people charged with criminal offenses. We have handled every type of criminal case in state and federal courts throughout the United States.
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.