Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Cases

In order to prevail under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel, the moving party must show counsel's representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness, and that there is a reasonable probability, that but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the proceedings would have been different. Albury v. State, Del. Supr., 551 A.2d 53 (1988). In applying this standard, the movant bears the burden of demonstrating that counsel's performance fell below an objective standard which is reasonable for counsel in the local area. The analysis to determine whether there was effective representation is to be measured by a standard of objective reasonableness given the overall performance during the course of the entire trial. The Court's analysis is not to focus on any one particular aspect of counsel's conduct but must consider the overall performance during the proceedings, in determining whether counsel's performance met that of a reasonable lawyer practicing in the jurisdiction. Therefore, to prevail on an ineffective assistance of counsel claim, the defendant is required to prove two elements. First, he must show that counsel's performance was deficient. That is, counsel's representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness. Secondly, defendant must show that the deficient performance prejudices his defense. That is, there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's unprofessional error, the, result of the proceeding would have been different. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S. Ct. 2052, 80 L. Ed. 2d 674 (1984). Analysis of counsel's performance focuses not on whether there is a perfect trial, but whether proceedings were fundamentally unfair or unreliable. Thus, defendant is required to show specific or actual prejudice and provide substantive testimony to substantiate his allegations. Shelton v. State, Del. Supr., 744 A.2d 465 (2000).