Defendants who entered a guilty plea as part of an agreement with a federal prosecutor may appeal their sentencing. Even if the court included a sentencing appeal waiver, the Department of Justice’s website notes that you may challenge it based on ineffective legal counsel.
The Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute explains that defendants have a right to effective counsel. The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects an individual’s right to a lawyer when facing federal prosecution. For this reason, some defendants may request a court-appointed attorney when they cannot hire one in time for trial.
How may I show I received ineffective representation?
Mistakes or unprofessionalism may have caused your case to proceed in an unusual manner. When ineffective counseling influenced a sentence, a two-prong test may help the court learn how the legal process deviated.
The first part of the test relates to a lawyer’s errors. The court may consider customary procedures in similar cases and compare your attorney’s performance to the profession’s norms. The second prong concerns prejudice. If an attorney’s performance fell below standards because of a prejudice that caused an error or mistake, the court may award a new outcome.
How may a conflict of interest show ineffective counsel?
When a lawyer presents a conflict of interest, you may have grounds for an appeal. As reported by the American Bar Association, a conflict of interest may involve another client who an attorney loyally represents and who may also have a connection to your case.
Overall, if a defense attorney’s guidance fell below an “objective standard of reasonableness,” defendants may explain the circumstances in their claims. Individuals already serving sentences for federal or state offenses may file an appeal based on ineffective counsel.