Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Cases In Nebraska

To sustain a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel as a violation of the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and article I, 11, of the Nebraska Constitution and thereby obtain reversal of a defendant's conviction, the defendant must show that: (1) counsel's performance was deficient. (2) such deficient performance prejudiced the defendant, that is, demonstrate a reasonable probability that but for counsel's deficient performance, the result of the proceeding would have been different. State v. Boppre, 252 Neb. 935, 567 N.W.2d 149 (1997). To determine whether counsel's performance is deficient in representation of a criminal defendant, the standard is whether an attorney, in representing the accused, performed at least as well as a lawyer with ordinary training and skill in the defense of a criminal case. State v. Dixon, 237 Neb. 630, 467 N.W.2d 397 (1991). Further, the entire ineffectiveness analysis is viewed with the strong presumption that counsel's actions were reasonable. State v. Lyman, 241 Neb. 911, 492 N.W.2d 16 (1992). However, a court need not determine whether counsel's performance was deficient before examining the prejudice suffered by the defendant as a result of the alleged deficiencies. If an ineffectiveness claim may be disposed of on the ground of lack of sufficient prejudice, that course should be followed. Dixon, supra; State v. Hawthorne, 230 Neb. 343, 431 N.W.2d 630 (1988). See, also, Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S. Ct. 2052, 80 L. Ed. 2d 674 (1984).