Articles Posted in IAC

Here’s an interesting summary disposition from CAAF.

No. 16-0468/AR. U.S. v. James H. Lee. CCA 20140309. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals, and in light of the conflicting affidavits between Appellant and his trial defense counsel, we conclude that the Court of Criminal Appeals erred when it failed to order a factfinding hearing pursuant to United States v. DuBay, 17 C.M.A. 147, 37 C.M.R. 411 (1967), to determine the facts surrounding Appellant’s allegations that his trial defense counsel was ineffective in failing to identify and investigate potential mitigation evidence for the presentencing hearing. See United States v. Ginn, 47 M.J. 236 (C.A.A.F. 1997). Accordingly, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue:

WHETHER APPELLANT WAS DENIED HIS SIXTH AMENDMENT RIGHT TO THE EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL WHEN HIS DEFENSE COUNSEL FAILED TO IDENTIFY AND INVESTIGATE POTENTIAL MITIGATION EVIDENCE.

We tend to focus on IAC issues to do with the merits, which on occasion includes a failure to investigate.  Here is a CAAF reminder, to us andACCA.

No. 16-0468/AR. U.S. v. James H. Lee. CCA 20140309. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals, and in light of the conflicting affidavits between Appellant and his trial defense counsel, we conclude that the Court of Criminal Appeals erred when it failed to order a factfindinghearing pursuant to United States v. DuBay, 17 C.M.A. 147, 37 C.M.R. 411 (1967), to determine the facts surrounding Appellant’s allegations that his trial defense counsel was ineffective in failing to identify and investigate potential mitigation evidence for the presentencing hearing. See United States v. Ginn, 47 M.J. 236 (C.A.A.F. 1997). Accordingly, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue:

WHETHER APPELLANT WAS DENIED HIS SIXTH AMENDMENT RIGHT TO THE EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL WHEN HIS DEFENSE COUNSEL FAILED TO IDENTIFY AND INVESTIGATE POTENTIAL MITIGATION EVIDENCE.

The CAAF took the following action last Friday.

No. 16-0309/AR. U.S. v. Michael B. O’Connor. CCA 20130853. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals, and in light of the conflicting affidavits between Appellant and his trial defense counsel, we conclude that the Court of Criminal Appeals erred when it failed to order a factfinding hearing pursuant to United States v. DuBay, 17 C.M.A. 147, 37 C.M.R. 411 (1967), to determine the facts surrounding Appellant’s allegations that his trial defense counsel were ineffective in failing to investigate alleged unlawful command influence in the preferral process. SeeUnited States v. Ginn, 47 M.J. 236(C.A.A.F. 1997). Accordingly, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue:

WHETHER APPELLANT WAS DENIED EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL AT TRIAL BY HIS COUNSEL FAILING TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGED UNLAWFUL COMMAND INFLUENCE IN THE PREFERRAL PROCESS.

Here is another case where a military prisoner has sought habeas corpus relief, in the Kansas District Court (the Tenth Circuit).

Valois v. Commandant, USDB

The case provides a fascinating discussion of the maze and complexities of DoD and Service regulations the award of good time credit, work abatement, and such, applicable to clients confined at the USDB.

The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has granted a petition on the following issue:

WHETHER APPELLANT RECEIVED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE WHEN DEFENSE COUNSEL FAILED TO INTRODUCE EVIDENCE WHICH STRONGLY CORROBORATED THE DEFENSE THEORY THAT THE ALLEGATIONS IN THIS CASE WERE FALSE.

Here is a link to the AFCCA opinion in United States v. McIntosh, ACM 37977, 2014 CCA LEXIS 29 (A. F. Ct. Crim. App. January 17, 2014).

Can a failure to file a pretrial motion equal ineffective assistance of counsel?  The BLUF is yes in some cases.  In some instances I have argued IAC on appeal for failing to make a meritorious motion.  The NMCCA has issued an interesting opinion in United States v. Spurling, in which they discuss this important issue.  The opinion appears to be an en banc one although not labeled as such – Sr. Judge Ward writes for a majority of five, with three dissenters in an opinion written by Judge King.  The issue of IAC for failure to raise a pretrial motion is neither novel nor rare.  Many of my appellate clients raise a question about why the defense counsel didn’t fil a particular motion.  I am about to file one in a case (citing United States v. Grostefon) where the client complains that the defense counsel did not file a motion to dismiss certain charges.  A more common issue is a motion to suppress, or speedy trial, or UCI.

  1. Spurling claimed IAC because his counsel did not litigate his admissions. Interestingly both counsel admitted they didn’t even catch the issue:  [Counsel] failed to “recognize the issue based on [her] lack of experience, the work load at the time, and never having argued an Article 31 issue[.]”
  2. Capt B concurs, stating that had the issue occurred to him “[he] would have proposed filing it.”

Peeking Behind the Plea Bargaining Process

Laurie L. Levenson

Loyola Law School Los Angeles
December 11, 2012
Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, Forthcoming
Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2012-49

Abstract:
The Supreme Court’s rulings in Missouri v. Frye and Lafler v. Cooper, which recognized a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel in plea bargaining, creates new responsibilities for judges, defense counsel and prosecutors. This article explores what those responsibilities are in light of the history and role of plea bargaining in the United States.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 45

In addition to oral argument in Vazquez (link to argument here), the court issued several opinions of relevance to military trial and appellate practitioners:  what are the “rules” and standards for IAC in regard to pretrial negotiations.

Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye.

the Court vacated the decision of the Court of Appeals of Missouri and remanded the case for further proceedings. By a vote of five to four, the Court held that the Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel ex­tends to the consideration of plea offers that lapse or are rejected and that that right applies to “all ‘critical’ stages of the criminal proceedings.”  Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Thomas and Alito.

Today the court will hear oral argument in Premo v. Moore, a case with potential ramifications for court-martials.  Courtesy of SCOTUSBlog here is a summary:

The Sixth Amendment secures a criminal defendant’s right to effective assistance of counsel.  Under Strickland v. Washington (1984), that right is violated when a lawyer’s performance falls below an objective standard of reasonableness, resulting in prejudice to the defendant.  Counsel’s representation is prejudicial when there is a reasonable probability that, but for the lawyer’s deficiencies, the proceeding would have ended differently.  Some defendants accept a plea bargain and then argue that their counsel was ineffective; in those cases, Hill v. Lockhart (1985) instructs a court to ask whether there is a reasonable probability that the defendant would have gone to trial had his counsel been constitutionally adequate.  When the Court hears argument tomorrow in Premo v. Moore (09-658), it will attempt to clarify how Strickland and Hill apply to plea deals that are made after counsel fails to suppress an unconstitutionally obtained confession.

For those who want to go right to the papers here is the SCOTUSBlog page.