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Legal-Guru, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1366
Experience:  Experienced Criminal Trial Attorney since 1998.
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My son went to trial 1 month ago, he was found guilty, this

Customer Question

My son went to trial 1 month ago, he was found guilty, this was a sexual assault charge. My question is if my sons lawyer did nothing to defend him and by this I mean he called no witness's, he did no interviews before trial, of the witness's against my son, the cross examination of the government witness's were half hearted at best during the trial, this lawyer said things to a nurse that was there to testify against my son, his comments were about her jewelry as if he was trying to confuse her or the JURY instead I felt that this was damaging to my sons case.

In my opinion we need to ask the court to investigate the "ineffective council charge", what is our best course of action to take? we have hired a lawyer who specializes in appeals, the sentencing will not be until November 17, 2011 and the lawyer who handled this case for my son is still in charge until after sentencing, he never discussed this trial much with my son and always refused to talk to me, he would say you are not my client, this lawyer is not likely to fight for my son when it comes to sentencing, he did visit my son one time sense the trial and told him that he needs to say he did this crime. His lawyers only goal was to get my son to accept a plea bargain that would have been admitting guilt to all charges which my son has always maintained his innocence. My question is do we need to file this charge before sentencing or is this something the lawyer who specializes in appeals and post trial issues should do and when would he do it?

Also my son is in jail at this time and will be there for a very long time through the appeal. This morning I was told by my son that one of the guys that testified against him at trial was recently put in the same jail and is talking to other inmates about the trial, this person was let out of prison recently and is apparently back in jail. My wife and I have a lot of reasons to be worried about our son's safety in this jail

There are many questions in this letter and I hope you can answer them all. JAMES M SCHNEIDER
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Legal-Guru replied 5 years ago.
I'm sorry to hear of your situation. Allow me to explain the process so that you will have a better understanding.

Ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC) is a grounds for appeal. I'm sure your son's appellate lawyer will raise IAC along with any other trial errors that he has a good faith basis to raise in the appeal.

Just to clarify IAC is not a "charge" or something the court "investigates". In fact courts, in this country, never investigate. Investigations are the job of the parties (both the state and the defendant) who then present evidence to the court for the court to decide.

Additionally, appellate courts do not retry the case. They consider errors (i.e., an erroneous jury instruction) alleged by the defendant and decide (1) whether it really was an error, and (2) whether it appeared to affect the outcome of the trial. Only if the answer to both are "yes" will the appellate court reverse for a new trial.

I hope that answered your questions. If you have follow up questions, I will try to answer them. Best of luck to you.