IAC in pretrial negotiations

Sometimes appellate counsel find themselves looking at ineffective representation in advising a client to plead guilty and then the conduct of the negotiations.

Taylor v. Crowther, USDC Utah may be worth the read. (The court opinion is within the article.)

Here the issue was related to sentencing.

Most compelling of those is Claim Four, in which he contends that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel in connection with his guilty plea. Specifically, Mr. Taylor contends that his trial attorney failed to conduct the investigation necessary to properly advise him about whether to plead guilty. . . .  All of this, he says, resulted in a plea that was not knowing or intelligent and that had no factual basis to support it.

Then, to determine whether Mr.Levine’s mitigation “investigation fell within ‘the wide range of reasonable professional assistance’ in 1991,” the court said we look to the information available to trial counsel. We also consider the prevailing professional norms at the time. In this case, we find evidence of the prevailing norms in [expert witness John Hill’s] affidavit as well as in the ABA Guidelines for Appointment and Performance of Counsel in Death Penalty Cases (the ABA Guidelines).Id. at 753. Considering the standards, the court agreed that Mr. Levine was presented with enough information to justify an independent investigation to gather mitigation evidence and that this failure to undertake such an investigation under the circumstances “was inexcusable.” Id. at755. “[F]ailing to investigate because counsel does not think it will help does not constitute a strategic decision, ‘but rather an abdication of advocacy.’” Id. at 754 (quoting Harries v. Bell,417 F.3d 631, 638 (6th Cir. 2005)).
Contact Information