Thursday, April 1, 2010
The Delaware Supreme Court has reversed a conviction for felony murder and related offenses based on a finding of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. The attorney had failed to request a clearly-available instruction on the special credibility problems with accomplice testimony. The instruction has been given for 40 years in the wake of a court decision.
The court here concluded that the failure to request the instruction had caused prejudice to the defendant, under circumstances where the testifying accomplice was the shooter. Prejudice will not be presumed in all cases involving a failure to seek the accomplice instruction. (Mike Frisch)