THE COSTLY CONSEQUENCES OF INEFFECTIVE REPRESENTATION
March 14, 2022
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the murder rate in Columbus, Ohio, for 2020 was 19.1 persons for every 100,000 residents. For robbery, it was 197.1 per 100,000, and for aggravated assault, 249.9 per 100,000. If you owned a vehicle, you had a 240.7-in-100,000 chance of having it stolen.
While these figures do not rank Columbus among the FBI’s most dangerous cities, they are not insignificant either. With crime reportedly on the rise throughout the nation, it will be interesting to see how the stats for Columbus and other areas of Ohio (Cleveland does rank in the top five in some categories) move up or down for 2021 when the compilation is completed.
For every victim, there is also at least one person who committed the crime. The perpetrator will often face the criminal justice system, which begins with arrest, then interrogation, hearings, and possible charges to be adjudicated in a trial.
The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that anyone accused of a crime is given a speedy and public trial by a jury of one’s peers, as well as “the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.” Assistance of counsel means, in modern terms, that you will be offered the services of a public defender to represent you and your rights throughout the legal process.
Is relying on a public defender your best option when facing a serious criminal charge? Or does representation by a private criminal defense attorney provide more options and protections?
If you’re being investigated or facing charges for a crime in or around Columbus, Ohio, contact Wolfe Law Group, LLC immediately. The firm’s criminal defense attorneys are courtroom veterans who are well-versed in exercising and protecting the rights of their clients. Don’t assign your fate to an inexperienced attorney or overworked public defender.
Wolfe Law Group, LLC serves clients not only in Columbus, but also in Dublin, Westerville, Gahanna, Hilliard, and throughout the state of Ohio.
Ineffective Representation and Its Consequences
A study funded by Westlaw, the prestigious legal reference company, tracked appeals by clients who blamed their convictions on ineffective legal representation by their public defender.
The study focused on 255 cases involving DNA as a basis for convictions. From those cases, 54 appeals were filed claiming ineffective representation by their public defender. The courts rejected 81 percent of the appeals. In seven cases, the courts agreed that the representation had been inadequate, and they reversed the convictions or ordered new trials.
The study found that these appeals involved claims of:
Failure to present defense witnesses
Failure to object to the prosecutors’ arguments or statements
Failure to object to evidence or to suppress evidence
Failure to interview/cross-examine witnesses
Half of the 54 appeals, exactly 27, cited multiple failures.
Private Attorney vs. Public Defender
As you can see from the above list, inadequate representation by a public defender can reveal itself on many fronts. Why is this?
No matter how well-intentioned, devoted, or well-educated, a public defender generally faces a huge caseload. What this means is that your public defender might not have much time to spend with you to develop a solid defense and answer your questions so that you feel in the loop. Often, the public defender will accept the first plea bargain available when matters go to court.
While a plea bargain may be a more positive outcome than you could obtain through trial, it also might not be. A proactive private attorney can begin bargaining with prosecutors before charges are even levied, getting your side of events heard and considered. You might get a better plea bargain deal or even a lesser charge to begin with.
Public defenders usually lack the outside resources of private criminal defense attorneys, and they cannot afford to hire investigators to collect evidence to buttress your defense. Public defenders may also lack the breadth of criminal defense experience that a private attorney would have. They often “cut their teeth,” so to speak, on DUI cases. If you’re charged with assault, that DUI experience might not make much of a difference.
Qualities of an Effective Defense Attorney
Experience, knowledge, and resources are the attributes you should seek in retaining the services of a criminal defense attorney. Availability and a commitment to keep you in the loop constantly are also important. You don’t want to feel that your fate is lying in the hands of someone who can’t even return your phone calls. You want and deserve personalized attention and to feel like a partner in the process.
You also want to feel that your attorney cares about you as an individual and will help you exercise your rights under the law every step of the way. Compassion is a good term to summarize this attribute.
Skilled and Compassion Representation
The attorneys at Wolfe Law Group, LLC are highly experienced and dedicated to the rights and well-being of their clients. They will work with you personally and tap into their resources to help build a solid defense. They will also work with prosecutors to get your side of the story heard before charges are decided, if any.
If you’re under investigation or have been charged with a crime in Ohio, contact Wolfe Law Group, LLC to begin the process of exercising and protecting your rights under the law.
From their office in Columbus, the firm proudly serves clients throughout Ohio, including Licking County, Newark, Heath, Granville, Fairfield County, Lancaster, Pickerington, and more.