“My lawyer didn’t protect me, he screwed up my defense and now I’m convicted of something I didn’t do!”
Under the United States and New Jersey Constitutions, when you are charged with a crime you have the right to counsel. That lawyer must provide “effective” assistance of counsel, and if they do not you can attack the conviction through filing a petition for Post-conviction Relief (PCR). In many of the cases seeking this type of relief, the claim is that the representation of the attorney fell below the standard required to effectively represent the client. That is the first step of proof that the client has to establish to get a Court to overturn the conviction. The second step of proof that must be established, is that the failure of the lawyer to properly represent the client rises to a level where the resulting conviction would not have occurred but-for the deficient representation. Once both of these evidentiary bases have been set forth in a petition for relief, the Court can grant an evidentiary hearing with witnesses, including the attorney who failed to provide the proper level of representation are called as witnesses. If, after the testimony is completed, the Court decides that relief should be granted, he can reverse the conviction and send it back to the Trial Court to re-list the case for another trial.
SPECIALIZING IN CRIMINAL DEFENSE THROUGHOUT NEW JERSEY
Howard W. Bailey, Esq.
550 Broad Street, Suite 601
Newark, NJ 07102