The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees a defendant in a criminal case the right to have the effective assistance of counsel. Under this right, a criminal defendant can expect that his lawyer will make rational and informed decisions based on adequate investigation and preparation.
In the recent case In re Hill, the state appointed defense counsel received reports that mentioned photographs of the alleged victim, but failed to investigate these photographs. In fact, the photographs constituted medical proof that the victim had never experienced sexual intercourse, let alone the 100-200 times she said the defendant raped her. Trial counsel defended her lack of thoroughness, stating she had a heavy caseload. The case was reversed due to this overburdened state appointed lawyer’s ineffective assistance of counsel.
In re Hill, 2011 WL 3527074