Monday, March 4, 2013

No, IAC is not sound trial strategy

People always have this weird, stupid, ridiculous idea that defense attorneys and/or their clients intentionally sabotage cases so they can someday make a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC). That attorney is trying to suck, they think. That defendant is trying to proceed to trial with an unprepared attorney so he can win on appeal! 'Cause that makes soooo much sense.

Honestly, folks, no defense attorney goes into a trial intending to screw it up so badly that the defendant will have a sure-fire claim for a new trial after he's convicted. I mean, really, who even thinks that would be a logical course of action at all? Why would you try to get your client convicted so you could get him a new trial instead of just trying to win the trial? I don't understand how anyone can think this makes sense enough to actually believe a defense attorney is doing it.

If you read as many online crime articles and their comment sections as I do, you'll see more than a few people insist that the defense attorney is setting up an appeal on IAC. The stupidity makes me crazy. Especially in places like Kansas where an IAC claim can't even be brought on direct appeal, so a Kansas defendant would have to sit in prison for the duration of a direct appeal before he could even bring this brilliant IAC plan to fruition. And even then, even if the defendant won on the IAC claim, he'd still have to go through appeals on that issue and even then wouldn't be released, but would just get a new trial. Yep, that sure would be some swell strategery.

Defense attorneys don't intentionally mess up so that years from now the defendant can get relief while the defense attorney is found by a judge (or judges) to have been deficient. If any defense attorney actually thought that was a good idea, that defense attorney should have his/her head examined.

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