Thursday, June 11, 2009

Illinois appellate court finds ineffective assistance of cousel

I am taking a break from grading exams to catch up with blogs, news and other stories.

About a month ago, I reported that the Illinois Appellate Court (5th Division) reversed a murder conviction because of ineffective assistance of counsel. See here.

Today, the First Division of the same court has announced a similar ruling finding that the defendant was denied effective assistance of counsel because of his attorney's failure to make a closing argument and his failure to object to the admission of certain irrelevant evidence (a gun).

The court determined that although under many circumstances the waiver of closing argument is a matter of trial strategy, it would be a rare case in which choosing not to make a closing argument in a jury trial would be sound trial strategy. "Given the evidence in this case," the court concluded, "this was not such a case."

The case is People v Wilson and it is available here.

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