Ineffective Assistance of Counsel and Failure to appeal or inform the defendant of possible options.

Asked about 1 year ago - Houston, TX

MURDER TRIAL: Defendant wins 1st appeal & is granted a new trial based on the Accomplice-Witness Rule. The star witness for the prosecution was also originally charged w/murder for the same case but, was given a charge of attempted murder in exchange for his testimony against the defendant. There was no physical evidence nor were there any other witnesses to the actual crime other than the witness & the defendant. So, it came down to one person's word against the other.

2nd Trial: Prosecution again calls upon the same witness to testify. The only other witnesses they called upon were character witnesses.

Additional information

There was no witness that could corroborate the accomplice’s testimony and as I have learned from a previous question I posted (http://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/accomplice-witness-rule--1257467.html) the jury should not have been able to convict based on the accomplice’s testimony alone. However, that is exactly what happened. Same defense counsel represented in both trails but, different judge and prosecutors. The state did not present any new evidence corroborating the witness’s testimony. Logical assumption especially, since the attorney was defense counsel for the 1st trial, he should have recognized that the state again violated the Accomplice-Rule. However, the defense counsel did nothing. Under these circumstances what should he have done or what options should he have advised the defendant of?

Since he did nothing and failed to advise the defendant of any options or possible objections would this also be grounds for a claim of Ineffective Assistance of Counsel?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Macy Michelle Jaggers

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Please stop posting the same question. Consult an appellate attorney in your area. No one can give you accurate feedback based on this information. They would have to read the entire record in the case.

    Macy Jaggers's answer to a legal question on Avvo does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Jaggers... more
  2. Stephen A. Gustitis

    Contributor Level 13

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Please refer your question to a post-conviction appeal specialist. It's impossible to answer your question without a full and objective investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding your case. Additionally, I'm always suspect when someone says their lawyer "did nothing." Defense lawyers rarely do nothing. Most of the time their actions are limited by the facts, over which they had no control.

  3. Chayah Skye

    Contributor Level 7

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . In your post you said, "the jury should not have been able to convict based on the accomplice’s testimony alone."

    I would assume the State did not call that one witness, then rest their case. If there was other evidence introduced, such as the crime scene evidence, autopsy, etc., then the conviction was not a result of the accomplice's testimony alone, but that testimony together with the rest of the evidence.

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