Example of a Case In Which Defence Lawyer's Failed to Produce a Single Witness

In People v. Bryant, 391 Ill. App. 3d 228, 907 N.E.2d 862, 330 Ill. Dec. 49 (2009), defense counsel told the jury that he would produce witnesses to support the defense and then failed to produce a single witness. Defense counsel also failed to call the defendants to testify that they were asleep at the time when the murders occurred and that two other men woke them to tell them that they (the two other men) had committed the murders. In his opening statement, defense counsel in Bryant related this account in detail and told the jury it would hear this directly from the defendants. But then he never presented their testimony during the trial. Defense counsel also failed in his attempt to elicit evidence in support of his theory of defense during cross-examination of the State witnesses. He was repeatedly admonished by the trial court that his questions were beyond the scope of direct examination and that he would need to present his own witnesses to elicit the evidence he sought. Yet defense counsel did not present any witnesses. In finding that defense counsel's ineffective assistance prejudiced the defendants, the appellate court noted the weakness of the State's case, and that defense counsel in fact did not present a defense. Bryant, 391 Ill. App. 3d at 242-43, 907 N.E.2d at 875. In Bryant, 391 Ill. App. 3d at 242-43, 907 N.E.2d at 875, the key witness was an admitted drug addict and an uncharged accomplice. Another case relevant to our analysis here is People v. Salgado, 263 Ill. App. 3d 238, 635 N.E.2d 1367, 200 Ill. Dec. 784 (1994), where the defendant was convicted of first degree murder, armed violence, and two counts of attempted murder. On appeal, the reviewing court found that the defendant trial's counsel had been so ineffective as to require a new trial. Counsel had failed to impeach the State's sole eyewitness, who had testified at previous trials of codefendants that he could not identify any of those who had committed the crimes, but at the defendant's trial claimed to be able to identify the defendant as one of the perpetrators. Salgado, 263 Ill. App. 3d at 246-47, 635 N.E.2d at 1373-75.