Wednesday, October 5, 2022
Incompetent representation in a criminal matter drew a public reprimand from the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers
The respondent was retained by a client who had been indicted for several felonies. Another individual was charged as a co-defendant. The respondent failed to provide competent and diligent representation to the client in his preparation for trial. Specifically, he failed to review much of the discovery provided by the prosecution; failed to investigate crucial photographic evidence taken from his client’s phone that was presented by the prosecutor during opening statements; failed to listen to all video and audio recordings supporting the prosecution’s case; failed to obtain transcripts of the recordings, many of which were in a foreign language; and failed to identify or subpoena any witnesses including expert witnesses. At trial, the respondent pursued a defense that was not available based on the facts of the case; failed to cross-examine all but two of the prosecution’s witnesses, elicited testimony damaging to his client from the two witnesses he did cross-examine; and heavily relied on codefendant’s counsel even though the two defendants had differing strategies and theories of the case. Both the client and co-defendant were found guilty.
A new trial was granted
The former client’s new trial was scheduled to begin in 2022. However, the case was dismissed by prosecutors on the eve of trial based on previously undisclosed exculpatory evidence that had not been timely released to the defendants.