Thursday, January 25, 2007

AD4: defense counsel taking adverse position to client at sentencing = ineffective assistance of counsel

People v Hunter, 2006 NY Slip Op 09835 [available here]

In this short decision, the Fourth Department reserved decision and sent the matter back down for assignment of new counsel where trial defense counsel took a position adverse to his client's motion to take back his plea. At sentencing, the defendant told the court that "defense counsel had induced him to plead guilty by informing him that a suppression hearing could be conducted after the plea was entered." (Hunter, 2006 NY Slip Op 09835.) Defense counsel denied telling his client any such thing. The Fourth Department held that defense counsel was not at liberty to act as a witness against his client, and therefore the court "should have assigned a different attorney before determining defendant's motion." (Id. at __.)