Sunday, August 5, 2007

Conviction Overturned

The South Dakota Supreme Court reversed the conviction of a defendant convicted of sexual offenses against four minors. The court held that trial counsel had provided ineffective assistance through a number of errors that had the cumulative effect of provided no meaningful defense. Among other things, the lawyer elicited prejudicial information that had been ruled inadmissible, failed to investigate prior unrelated claims of abuse that had not been prosecuted, incomprehensibly cross-examined a victim (and was criticized for taking long pauses between each question), and failed to assert a double jeopardy claim that would have reduced the number of charges against the defendant. The attorney was later placed on disability suspension and thereafter disbarred. (MIke Frisch)

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