What is Ineffective Assistance of Counsel?

By law, an individual has a right to assistance from a counsel. It is the job of a lawyer to investigate alibis and witnesses, ask experts to analyze evidence, and be present at the trials. When lawyers are ineffective at trials, the innocent individual suffers. Their vulnerability as civilians to the specialized practice of law can render them defenseless even if they have compelling evidence to support their innocence. When a lawyer is not a good vector to communicate the innocence of an individual, the convicted person may file a habeas corpus claim to prove ineffective assistance of counsel.

What constitutes Ineffective Assistance of Counsel?

The supreme court case Strickland v. Washington established that prove ineffective assistance of counsel, and a violation of the 6th amendment, a defendant must demonstrate the following

  1. that their trial lawyer’s performance fell below an “objective standard of reasonableness”
  2. “a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different”