Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Counsel's Silence Grounds For Reversal

A first degree murder conviction was reversed on grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

The attorney had failed to object to approximately thirty references to his client's silence during questioning by the police.

The attorney was unaware of the governing law, which demonstrated counsel's deficient performance.

The court concluded that the client's credibility was central to his defense and that "the frequency of references to the defendant's silence, the content of the questions posed to the defendant, and the editorializing of the defendant's silence by the State's witness" created a substantial possiblity of a different result, but for counsel's errors. (Mike Frisch)


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