Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sleeping during trial = ineffective assistance of counsel

A Brooklyn judge has reversed a conviction because the defendant's attorney (Michael Harrison) repeatedly fell asleep at trial, allegedly read magazines while witnesses testified and gave such a rambling, implausible opening argument that the jury laughed. The court held that "the facts and circumstances of this case compels this court to find that the quality of the legal representation provided to [the] defendant . . . was so insufficient that the integrity of the judicial process was placed in jeopardy. . ." and that "defendant did not receive the minimum level of representation that is required by law."

The case is People v. Irizarry, available here.

The full story is available here and here.

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