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Effective Assistance of Counsel

August 31, 2016 By Jeff King

Everyone accused of a crime in the United States is guaranteed the right to have effective assistance of counsel to fight the charges. This right was first memorialized in the landmark case of Gideon v. Wainwright in 1963. In that case, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires the state to provide counsel in cases where a defendant cannot afford to hire one.

While each person is guaranteed the right to ‘effective assistance of counsel’ in criminal cases, this does not mean successful or the best counsel. Nowhere was this point made more clearly than in the now infamous case that made its way into the national discourse through a popular documentary, “Making a Murderer” and the trial of Brendan Dassey.

Choosing the Right Attorney

That case involved the murder of photographer who was last seen on the property of a junkyard owner. As the investigation of the murder began and became more complicated, the nephew of the yard owner was implicated in the murder through an off-hand comment. Soon the police took the young man (16 years old) out of school and began asking him questions about the night of the murder.

Once the police got what they considered a valid confession, the boy was charged with the murder and other crimes. Soon after, because he was poor, he was assigned a public defender to defend him of the charges. This is when things turned badly for the young man–so badly in fact, that a federal judge recently overturned his conviction of the murder and had this to say about the attorney in the case:

“Although it probably does not need to be stated, it will be: Kachinsky’s [the attorney] conduct was inexcusable both tactically and ethically.”

These are strong words coming from the federal judge overturning a murder conviction. But they were true, and reveal how important it is to choose the right attorney from the get-go of a criminal case.

Defending Criminal Actions

Every criminal case filed carries with it a number of life-changing consequences. The obvious ramifications of a criminal charge include extended jail time, fines, and a criminal record. With so much on the line, a criminal defendant really must have the right attorney in his or her corner to ensure that the process of the investigation, charges, and trial take place correctly and within the bounds of the law.

But beyond just ensuring the process of a criminal case is upheld correctly, there are important differences in the tactics chosen to defend a case. Such tactics include discovery battles with the prosecution, choosing which evidence to put on and why, and jury selection. These are just a few of dozens of considerations that go into every decision a defense attorney takes in defending a criminal case.

When considering which criminal defense attorney to hire for your representation, consider Jeff King. He has the experience and skill that your case deserves. His experience extends to not only defending serious and complex criminal cases, but in prosecuting them, as well. As a result you will be able to rest assured that you are getting the representation possible for your case. Contact us today.

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THE LAW OFFICE OF
JEFFERY KING, PLLC.
4925 Greenville Ave.
Suite 200
Dallas, Texas 75206
T: 469-399-7001
info@jeffkinglaw.com
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