Criminal defendants are entitled to effective assistance of counsel at all critical stages of the criminal process. Given the very high percentage of federal criminal cases that are resolved via plea agreement, the pretrial process is arguably the most critical stage of the process. Federal prisoners who have been provided ineffective assistance of counsel at the pretrial stage can usually pursue relief in section 2255 proceedings. Here are a variety of cases that illustrate the kinds of pretrial ineffective assistance of counsel claims that may be brought. Note that there are other types of ineffective counsel as well.
Pretrial Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Cases | Ineffective Counsel Cases
- United States v. Rashad, 396 F.3d 398 (D.C. Cir. 2005). Remand for IAC determination where counsel advised the defendant that he could obtain sentence reduction for acceptance of responsibility simply by pleading guilty.
- United States v. Blaylock, 20 F.3d 1458 (9th Cir. 1994). Remand for IAC determination where counsel failed to inform the defendant that the government had made a plea offer.
- Smith v. United States, 348 F.3d 545 (6th Cir. 2003). Remand for IAC determination where counsel failed to advise the defendant to accept the plea offer.
- United States v. Herrerra, 412 F.3d 577 (5th Cir. 2005). Remand for IAC determination where counsel misadvised the defendant as to his sentence exposure, and the defendant relied on that advice in rejecting a plea offer. See also United States v. Day, 969 F.2d 39 (3d Cir. 1992)(same).
- Lee v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 1958 (2017). Counsel’s erroneous advice that a guilty plea would preclude deportation was prejudicial and amounted to ineffective assistance of counsel.
- United States v. Gray, 878 F.3d 702 (3d Cir. 1989). Counsel was ineffective in failing to hire an investigator or conduct any pretrial investigation, including contacting potential witnesses.
- United States v. Dawson, 857 F.2d 923 (3d Cir. 1988). Remand for IAC determination where counsel failed to interview potential witnesses.
- Owens v. United States, 387 F.3d 607 (4th Cir. 2004). Counsel was ineffective where he failed to move to suppress a search warrant, when the motion would have been granted, and the defendant acquitted.
- Anderson v. United States, 948 F.2d 704 (11th Cir. 1991). Remand for IAC determination where counsel failed to request competency hearing for the defendant, who submitted his section 2255 motion from a federal psychiatric facility.
- United States v. Kauffman, 109 F.3d 186 (3d Cir. 1997). Counsel was ineffective in failing to investigate the insanity defense despite having received a letter from a psychiatrist who described the defendant as manic and psychotic at the time of the crime.
Experienced Pretrial Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Lawyers
There is no doubt that the pretrial phase is a critical stage of the federal criminal process. Competent counsel is absolutely required at this juncture, but sadly, many federal defendants are not provided effective assistance here. If you or a loved one were misadvised by your attorney or feel that your attorney failed to do his job during pretrial proceedings, contact the Law Offices of Brandon Sample now. Our experienced staff is standing by, ready to assist you with your section 2255 claim. Allow our team of experienced attorneys to uncover ineffective counsel claims, represent you in federal court, and attack your conviction.
Pretrial Ineffective Assistance of Counsel | Ineffective Counsel FAQs
Q: My counsel did nothing more than push me into a plea deal. Can I claim that as ineffective assistance of counsel?
A: If your counsel’s “assistance” was limited to cajoling you into signing a guilty plea, you may have an IAC claim. For instance, if your counsel failed to properly advise you as to the consequences of your plea, or gave you incorrect advice, you may have a winning section 2255 ineffective assistance of counsel claim.
Q: I asked my lawyer to interview some witnesses whose testimony would have helped me, but she didn’t do it. Was that ineffective assistance of counsel?
A: Several courts have found counsel’s failure to interview potential witnesses to amount to ineffective assistance of counsel. See, for example, United States v. Dawson, 857 F.2d 923 (3d Cir. 1988). If your attorney refused to properly investigate your case, contact us right away. Our professional and experienced habeas corpus litigators are standing by to help you pursue your ineffective assistance of counsel claim.
Q: My counsel gave me bad advice, which I relied on to enter into a terrible plea deal, but nothing he said is in writing. Can I pursue a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel?
A: Yes. Ineffective assistance of counsel issues are the most commonly litigated claims in the section 2255 milieu. Because IAC claims are often “he said, she said” situations, both you and your attorney will have the chance to tell the court what happened. Sometimes factual disputes such as these are resolved via dueling affidavits, and sometimes the court will require testimony at an evidentiary hearing.