Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Claims Cases in New York

In People v. Bennett, 29 NY2d 462, 280 N.E.2d 637, 329 N.Y.S.2d 801 (1972) the Court of Appeals concluded that a defendant was denied effective assistance of counsel when he failed to prepare for an insanity defense by failing to read any of defendants hospital records before trial, the trial judge had to ask the prosecutor to assist the defense attorney regarding the insanity defense, defense counsel was unable to properly phrase hypothetical questions for the psychiatrists who testified, and both psychiatrists that he called as witnesses testified that the defendant was sane. In People v. Maldonado, 278 AD2d 513, 718 N.Y.S.2d 387 (2d Dept 2000), the Court found an attorney in a retrial ineffective for failing to call a participant in the defendant's first trial who had testified that the defendant was not involved in the robbery and who also failed to interview or call four alibi witnesses, without any sound reason. In People v. Green, 37 AD3d 615, 828 N.Y.S.2d 816 (2d Dept 2007), the Second Department affirmed a lower court ruling finding ineffective assistance of counsel where: "The defendant established at the hearing on his motion that his the trial counsel, without a reasonable strategic reason, failed to interview or even contact potential witnesses known to counsel prior to the trial, including an eyewitness to the crime, who could have offered exculpatory testimony substantiating the defense of misidentification ..." . In People v. Bussey, 6 AD3d 621, 775 N.Y.S.2d 364 (2d Dept 2004), trial counsel never obtained a report from an investigator he hired to interview two alibi witnesses, failed to conduct an investigation into defendant's alibi and failed to call seven potential alibi witnesses because he did not want to risk having the prosecution elicit potentially damaging testimony on cross-examination of these witnesses. In People v. Baba-Ali, 179 AD2d 725, 578 N.Y.S.2d 633 (1992), the defendant was accused of sexual abuse during a divorce and medical examinations of the child at that time showed no evidence of such abuse. The defendant's conviction was reversed for ineffective assistance of counsel in a child molestation criminal case where defense counsel failed to obtain the exculpatory medical testimony. In People v. Rodriguez, 94 AD2d 805, 462 N.Y.S.2d 914 (2d Dept 1983), the defendant's's conviction was reversed where trial counsel withdrew a previously granted application for a Huntley hearing, one week before trial, failed to interview exculpatory witnesses, failed to object a prejudicial jury charge, failed to challenge clearly insufficient scientific evidence and elicited statements from the informant that were prejudicial to the defendant that could not have been elicited by the prosecution.