State v. Jackson

In State v. Jackson, 209 Ariz. 13, 97 P.3d 113 (App. 2004), the defendant contended "that trial counsel was ineffective in failing to explore the possibility of a plea offer." 209 Ariz. 13, P3, 97 P.3d at 114. The Court concluded that, even if Jackson's factual assertions were assumed to be true and the state had offered a plea agreement early in the case, his claim based on State v. Donald was not colorable; it was based on the assertion that counsel had been ineffective for not resuming "plea negotiations on the eve of trial," not on counsel's having given Jackson bad advice. 209 Ariz. 13, P7, 97 P.3d at 116. Although this court examined Donald, we did so with the express caveat that "nothing in this decision should be read to mean this court adopts or approves of Donald." Id. n.6. The Court concluded: The constitutional principles underlying Donald come into play only when a concrete plea offer has been made by the state, and we decline Jackson's request, unsupported by authority, to extend Donald's reach to include a defense counsel's failure to investigate the speculative possibilities of a potential plea offer, the very existence of which is contested. Id. P 11. Finally, the Court noted the paucity of support for the notion that counsel may be found to have been ineffective for "failing to seek a plea agreement." Id. n.5. The Court added, however, that "we . . . do not reach the broader question of whether a defendant can ever establish an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim predicated on counsel's failure to seek a plea agreement when, unlike here, the defendant can show prejudice." Id. In State v. Donald, 198 Ariz. 406, 10 P.3d 1193 (App. 2000), the Court held a trial court may compel the state to reinstate a plea agreement it previously offered if the defendant had rejected it because counsel had failed to adequately inform the defendant of the terms of the plea offer and the relative merits of that offer when compared to proceeding to trial. 198 Ariz. 406, PP14, 44, 10 P.3d at 1200, 1205.