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Claims for ineffective assistance of counsel norms?

Houston, TX |

If a defense attorney has had 3 of his former client's convictions overturned on claims of ineffective counsel against him over a span of 5 years would that be considered higher than norm? Is there a norm or average or would even just one case be considered not the average as per an attorneys career spans overall?

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Attorney answers 4


Yes, that is higher than normal. In order to find an attorney ineffective in Texas a showing must be made that his/his conduct fell below an objective standard of reasonableness and they must show that it mattered in a particular case; in other words there was harm to the client. It is a very high burden that is difficult to prove in many criminal cases.

On average, I would say most attorneys have 0 claims of ineffective assistance of counsel found to be true by a court. That said, 3 is a high number for any attorney.

I hope this helps. I would recommend you steer clear of this attorney and/or consult a writ attorney if they have harmed you.

Good luck!

Carmen M. Roe
Attorney At Law


This is very difficult to answer. It depends on what types of cases the lawyer is handling, the number of cases, etc. The Texas Bar may have statisitics available for this kind of inquiry. If you believe that there was malpractice, you should contact a lawyer in your area. Good luck.


Three in a lifetime is very high. Three in five years is extremely high. Like the previous answer states, if this was your attorney, and you were found guilty, it is certainly worth looking into.


It is pretty hard to get a conviction overturned on appeal or in a post-convictin proceeding for ineffectiveness of counsel. Not only must the conduct of the lawyer be shown to be objectively unreasonable but the mistake must have probably affected the result of the trial. This is an argument that is made constantly in criminal appeals but it is only successful in exceptional circumstances. Significantly, it is often the latter part of the standard that prevents reversal. That means if three convictions were reversed, the lawyer's work may well have fallen below an objective standard of reasonableness many other times, but the client was simply unable to prove on appeal that the lawyer's mistakes affected the result of the trial. That's a long way of saying that I agree with the others three in five years is a lot and a big red flag.

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