Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Cases In Tennessee

When a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel is made under the Sixth Amendment, the burden is upon the petitioner to show: (1) that counsel's performance was deficient and (2) that the deficiency was prejudicial in terms of rendering a reasonable probability that the result of the trial was unreliable or the proceedings fundamentally unfair. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687, 104 S. Ct. 2052, 2064, 80 L. Ed. 2d 674 (1984); see Lockhart v. Fretwell, 506 U.S. 364, 368-72, 113 S. Ct. 838, 842-44, 122 L. Ed. 2d 180 (1993). the Strickland standard has been applied to the right to counsel under Article I, Section 9 of the Tennessee Constitution. State v. Melson, 772 S.W.2d 417, 419 n.2 (Tenn. 1989). In Baxter v. Rose, 523 S.W.2d 930, 936 (Tenn. 1975), our supreme court held that attorneys should be held to the general standard of whether the services rendered were within the range of competence demanded of attorneys in criminal cases. Further, the court stated that the range of competence was to be measured by the duties and criteria set forth in Beasley v. United States, 491 F.2d 687, 696 (6th Cir. 1974) and United States v. DeCoster, 159 U.S. App. D.C. 326, 487 F.2d 1197, 1202-04 (D.C. Cir. 1973). Also, in reviewing counsel's conduct, a "fair assessment of attorney performance requires that every effort be made to eliminate the distorting effects of hindsight, to reconstruct the circumstances of counsel's challenged conduct, and to evaluate the conduct from counsel's perspective at the time." Strickland, 466 U.S. at 689, 104 S. Ct. at 2065; see Hellard v. State, 629 S.W.2d 4, 9 (Tenn. 1982). When a petitioner claims that ineffective assistance of counsel resulted in a guilty plea, the petitioner must prove that counsel performed deficiently and that but for counsel's errors, the petitioner would not have pled guilty and would have insisted upon going to trial. Hill v. Lockhart, 474 U.S. 52, 59, 106 S. Ct. 366, 370, 88 L. Ed. 2d 203 (1985).