There is also a human element to a criminal defense. The accused is a person. Usually, the accused has family and friends that care about him/her regardless of what the allegations might be. A good criminal defense attorney recognizes this and tries to nurture a relationship with the client and his/her family in order to better serve the client. While it might not be in the book definition of criminal defense, it is my book regarding criminal defense that people need to be treated right and that starts with honesty and integrity in discussions about the case and treating people with dignity and respect they deserve for being human (regardless of what they are accused of or may or may not have done).
There can be no strategic reason for not making the proper objections and preserving the record if the goal is to provide “effective assistance” as intended under the Sixth Amendment. Thus, there can be no strategic reason for not filing a motion for new trial when the client was convicted at trial.
While stipulations are very useful in civil cases, these should be rarely used in criminal case. The reason is because the stipulation relieves the state of its burden as to proving a piece of evidence that it needs to prove in the trial or hearing to prove the charge.
There are no “do-overs” usually in criminal court when a defendant “freely,” “voluntarily,” and “intelligently” enters a guilty plea with the “assistance” of “competent counsel.” Once the plea is entered, accepted by the court, and the defendant is sentenced- – the defendant must live with the whole ordeal (even if the defendant is unsatisfied for whatever reason). There is no redo or rework or second chance, and the plea is final in most respects.
Generally, outside of the rarest situation, if you are convicted of a felony, then you will live with the conviction for the rest of your life. Period. At common law, a felony was an offense that was punishable by imprisonment for more than one year. As such it is of vital importance that you understand the rights and privileges you will give up, waive, or otherwise lose as a convicted felon (whether the conviction comes by guilty verdict or plea bargain).
“They didn’t read me my rights. They have to dismiss my case, right?” This is a common refrain from the accused. Unfortunately, the answer is almost certainly “no.” This is super common misunderstanding that people have about their constitutional criminal rights. People mistakenly believe that because the police did not read them their [Miranda] rights, the case must be “thrown out of court.” Sadly, this is not how it works.
The benchmark for judging any claim of ineffectiveness must be whether counsel’s conduct so undermined the proper functioning of the adversarial process that the trial cannot be relied on as having produced a just result. A convicted defendant’s claim that counsel’s assistance was so defective as to require reversal of a conviction