Stupid Lawyer

I laughed out loud recently, while reviewing case summaries our office receives on noteworthy court cases. The case that made me chuckle was written by an appeals court in Albany, regarding a narcotics sale case where the defendant was convicted at trial, and then argued on appeal that the reason he was convicted was because he had a lousy lawyer, or in legal speak, that he was "denied the effective assistance of counsel."

The facts: Dan Defendant allegedly sells heroine to Nancy Narc, who in turn sells the heroine to an undercover. Dan is arrested and charged with selling the heroine to Nancy. Incredibly, at Dan's trial, his nitwit attorney (Ken Clueless, Esq.) argued to the jury that Dan could not be convicted of the crime, because Dan only sold the heroine to Nancy, NOT to the undercover officer.

Throwing Dan's conviction out and ordering a new trial, the appellate court in Albany found that "Counsel demonstrated a lack of familiarity with the applicable criminal law", and that he "in essence admitted to the jury that defendant did in fact sell the narcotics".

All kidding aside, each of us has a Constitutional right to be represented by a competent attorney if charged with a crime, and despite goofball conduct by some bad apple attorneys, that right must be safeguarded, even if it means conducting the same trial twice.

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