March 26, 2009
Lawyer Spare That Tree
In a collateral attack on convictions for second degree murder, the defendant claimed that his trial counsel had been ineffective for his failure to attempt to retrieve the death-causing bullet from a tree at the crime scene. Counsel did not deny that the defendant had requested that he do so.
The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the trial court's denial of habeas corpus relief. The decision not to retrieve the bullet was found by the post-conviction court to be a sound tactical decision. There was no evidence that the bullet was lodged in the tree or that, if found, it would have been favorable to the defendant's case. (Mike Frisch)
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