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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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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The reason is simple: clients want white glove service, and lawyers who can win. Every single client who works with the Spodek Law Group is aware that the attorney they hire could drastically change the outcome of their case. Hiring the Spodek Law Group means you’re taking your future seriously. Our lawyers handle cases nationwide, ranging from NYC to LA. Our philosophy is fair and simple: our nyc criminal lawyers only take on clients who we know will benefit from our services.

We’re selective about the clients we work with, and only take on cases we know align with our experience – and where we can make a difference. This is different from other law firms who are not invested in your success nor care about your outcome.

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What Do You Have to Show for Ineffective Assistance?

By Spodek Law Group | July 26, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 15, 2023)

Last Updated on: 15th October 2023, 12:35 pm

What Do You Have to Show for Ineffective Assistance?

Getting accused of a crime is scary. Even if you’re innocent, the legal system can feel like a maze. You need someone who knows the way through – a good lawyer. But what if your lawyer messes up? What if they don’t investigate your case or call key witnesses? That’s called ineffective assistance. And it could be grounds for an appeal.

The Sixth Amendment gives you the right to have a lawyer in criminal cases. Not just any lawyer – you’re entitled to a reasonably competent one. If your attorney’s mistakes hurt your case, that violates the Constitution. But you can’t just say “my lawyer was bad.” You have to show exactly how their mistakes affected the outcome.

What Makes a Lawyer Ineffective?

There’s no simple test for ineffective assistance. Every case is different. But some common examples include:

  • Not investigating your case or calling key witnesses
  • Failing to get important evidence thrown out
  • Not objecting to errors by the judge or prosecution
  • Not informing you of plea bargains offered by the prosecution

Making strategic decisions about your defense doesn’t necessarily count. The law gives lawyers latitude to use their best judgment. But if their judgment seems completely unreasonable, that could be ineffective assistance.

How Do You Show Ineffective Assistance?

The Supreme Court set a two-part test in Strickland v. Washington. To prove ineffective assistance, you must show:

  1. Your lawyer’s performance fell below an objective standard of reasonableness
  2. Their mistakes prejudiced the outcome – there’s a reasonable probability of a different result with competent counsel

That’s a high bar. Many ineffectiveness claims fail because there’s no proof the lawyer’s mistakes changed the outcome. But it does happen.

Examples of Ineffective Assistance

Here are some real-life cases where defendants showed ineffective assistance:

Failing to Investigate

Joe was convicted of assault based on witness statements. But his lawyer never interviewed alibi witnesses who could’ve proven he was elsewhere. The court found ignoring these witnesses was unreasonable, prejudicing Joe’s defense (Bazelon v. United States).

Not Objecting to Errors

Bill was convicted of robbery. But during trial, the judge made improper comments and the prosecutor asked improper questions. Bill’s lawyer didn’t object. The appellate court ruled the lawyer’s failure to object fell below professional standards and prejudiced Bill’s case (People v. Snyder).

Botching Jury Selection

Sally was convicted of fraud. During jury selection, her lawyer didn’t strike a juror who clearly showed bias against her. The appeals court found this incompetent and said it deprived Sally of an impartial jury ( Virgil v. Dretke).

In these cases, the courts overturned the convictions because of ineffective assistance. When a lawyer’s mistakes are serious enough to cause unfairness, the Constitution requires a fix.

How Can You Show Prejudice?

Proving your lawyer’s performance was deficient is only half the battle. You also must show their mistakes impacted the case. How do you do this?

  • Point to key errors the lawyer made and show how they hurt your defense
  • Present evidence that was overlooked which could’ve helped you
  • Highlight parts of the trial that would’ve gone differently with competent counsel
  • Argue the outcome was unreliable because your lawyer failed you

The goal is to convince the judge that the lawyer’s mistakes undermined the case and changed the result. You have to give concrete examples of how their errors prejudiced you.

What If Your Lawyer Ignored a Plea Deal?

Many ineffective assistance claims involve plea bargains. Prosecutors often offer plea deals with lesser sentences. If your lawyer doesn’t tell you about a plea offer, that could be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court said so in Missouri v. Frye and Lafler v. Cooper.

You still have to show prejudice though. If you can prove you would’ve taken the deal, and it was better than the outcome at trial, your lawyer’s failure to inform you violated your rights. But you need to clearly establish you would’ve accepted the offer. Otherwise there’s no prejudice.

When Can You Raise an Ineffectiveness Claim?

You can claim ineffective assistance on direct appeal after conviction. But often it’s better to raise it in a collateral proceeding like habeas corpus. That way you can develop extra evidence about what your lawyer did wrong.

The court may hold a hearing to investigate your lawyer’s performance and the impact of their errors. You’ll need to present solid proof – affidavits, documents, expert testimony – to show why their mistakes justify reversing your conviction.

Should You Get a New Lawyer?

If possible, get a new attorney to handle your ineffectiveness claim. It’s awkward for a lawyer to argue their own incompetence. And judges view ineffectiveness arguments more skeptically when the same lawyer is involved. The best bet is getting outside counsel to make the case that your lawyer failed you.

What If Your Claim Fails?

Ineffectiveness claims often don’t succeed, especially on direct appeal. The record may not contain enough evidence yet to show your lawyer’s errors and the prejudice they caused. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of options:

  • You can raise the claim again in habeas corpus with additional proof.
  • Submit a complaint to your state bar association if your lawyer acted unethically.
  • File a malpractice lawsuit if their incompetence hurt you.

So if your first attempt fails, don’t give up. There may still be ways to show your lawyer let you down and win relief.

Get Help From Experienced Criminal Appeals Lawyers

Ineffective assistance claims are complicated. You need proof, objectivity, and legal experience. Our lawyers have gotten convictions reversed by showing clients received ineffective assistance. If your lawyer made serious mistakes, we can build a strong case explaining how it violated your rights and why you deserve a new trial. Don’t wait – contact us to explore your options. Justice depends on effective counsel, and we’re here to fight if your lawyer failed you.

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I was searching for a law firm with some power to help me deal with a warrant in New York . After 6 days I decided to go with Spodek Law Group. It helped that This law firm is well respected by not only the top law firms in New York , but the DA , Judge as well. I...

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