Thursday, August 4, 2011

Court of Appeals finds no ineffective assistance of counsel even though attorney fell asleep while defendant was under cross-examination -- UPDATED

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit denied a habeas petition alleging ineffective assistance of counsel because the defense attorney fell asleep while the defendant was under cross-examination.  The case is called  Muniz v. Smith (although I suspect it should be Muñiz) and it is available here.   The court held that a courtroom nap, by itself, is insufficient to establish ineffective assistance of counsel unless the attorney is asleep for a “substantial portion” of the trial.  The case has generated a good debate here

UPDATE 8/4/11:  Lowering the Bar has more on the story here.

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