Ineffective assistance of counsel overview

| Jun 23, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Ineffective assistance of counsel is a term used by a defendant when their attorney fails to perform their duties competently. It’s a violation of the Sixth Amendment that calls for a fair trial. In a successful claim, the jury often overturns the conviction. In South Carolina, one should benefit from adequate legal performance during each stage of the proceedings.

Test for ineffective assistance of counsel

As aforementioned, the Sixth Amendment guarantees a fair trial to defendants. However, a defendant needs to prove the ineffectiveness of their counsel when a criminal appeal is filed. Most courts check whether the counsel was reasonable, prejudiced or had the notions of fairness.

Reasonable attorneys are effective in considering all circumstances. To test for reasonableness, the court checks for legal strategies used, available evidence and behavior of the defendant. The court checks whether the results would’ve been different or any counsel errors to test for prejudice. Fundamental fairness accounts for the conclusion. The court checks whether the defense counsel objected to errors or filed or an appeal.

Remedy for ineffective assistance of counsel

When the court deems the counsel ineffective, the defendant will get one of three remedies. In a pending case, the defendant should have new counsel, who might request a new trial. Detecting ineffectiveness after a trial where the defendant was guilty mandates a reversal of the verdict and a new trial. Noticing the ineffectiveness during sentencing requires a cancellation of the sentencing and a resentencing of the defendant. An attorney who has experience with these types of matters can provide further information.