Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.
Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.
Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.
Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.
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Todd Spodek is a second generation attorney with immense experience. He has many years of experience handling 100’s of tough and hard to win trials. He’s been featured on major news outlets, such as New York Post, Newsweek, Fox 5 New York, South China Morning Post, Insider.com, and many others.
In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.
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Last Updated on: 13th October 2023, 08:21 pm
Getting accused of a crime is scary. Even if you’re innocent, the legal system can be confusing and overwhelming. Where do you start? Who can you trust? If you end up with a bad lawyer, it can ruin your case. This article looks at ineffective assistance of counsel – what it is, how to spot it, and your options if it happens to you.
The 6th Amendment gives you the right to an attorney if you’re accused of a crime. But not just any attorney – you’re entitled to a competent one. If your lawyer screws up badly enough, it’s called “ineffective assistance of counsel.” This means they failed to provide an adequate defense.
There’s no simple test for ineffective assistance. Courts look at two main factors:
If both are true, you may have grounds for an appeal. But the bar is high – minor mistakes usually won’t cut it.
Here are some common ways lawyers drop the ball:
If your lawyer was drunk or asleep at trial, that’s ineffective assistance for sure. But courts give attorneys a lot of leeway for strategy calls. Just because you disagree with their tactics doesn’t mean it was deficient. You have to show they made objectively unreasonable choices that harmed your case.
If you have a bad feeling about your lawyer, trust your gut. Here are signs they may not be up to snuff:
Of course, no lawyer is perfect. But if multiple red flags pop up, it may be grounds for a new attorney. Don’t wait until after conviction – the sooner you act, the better.
If you suspect ineffective assistance, first discuss it with your lawyer. Explain your concerns and give them a chance to fix mistakes. If that doesn’t work, consider getting a second opinion from another attorney. They can review your case and advise if your lawyer is incompetent.
If it’s too late because your case is over, you can raise ineffective assistance on appeal. You’ll have to show how specific errors affected the outcome. This can get technical, so work with an appellate lawyer. New evidence usually can’t be introduced at this stage – your argument must stick to the trial record.
Another option is to file a habeas corpus petition. This is a separate civil action claiming your imprisonment is unlawful due to constitutional violations at trial. New evidence can be presented in habeas proceedings. But the bar is still high, and you only get one shot absent special circumstances.
If a court agrees you had ineffective assistance, the remedy depends on when you raised it:
The court can also modify your sentence or plea while leaving the conviction intact. Bottom line, proving ineffective assistance gives you another chance to fight the charges and get justice.
While you can’t control how your lawyer handles your case, there are steps to reduce the odds of issues:
The lawyer-client relationship is vital. You need someone competent who will fight for you. If it’s not a good match, don’t stick with a bad lawyer just because you already paid them. Your freedom is on the line.
Ineffective assistance of counsel is a nightmare, but not an automatic get-out-of-jail-free card. The grounds are limited, and courts give lawyers lots of leeway. But if yours makes serious mistakes that harm your case, you may have recourse for an appeal or new trial. Don’t wait – take action ASAP if you suspect you have a lemon lawyer.
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