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Ineffective Assistance – Interviewing Witnesses

September 19, 2013

Ineffective Assistance – Interviewing Witnesses

CaseQuantel Taylor v. State of Tennessee

Facts:  The Defendant pled guilty to several serious charges.  On post-conviction, he alleged that his trial attorney was ineffective for failing to interview several witnesses.  The post-conviction court granted the State’s motion to quash subpoenas for his co-defendants to testify, despite the absence of any evidence from the State in support.  After a hearing, the court denied the petition for relief.

Appellate Decision:  The intermediate court held that the trial court erred in quashing the subpoenas, but found the error harmless upon finding that the Defendant’s counsel was not deficient, and any deficiencies did prejudice the Defendant.

Issue:  Was trial counsel ineffective in failing to interview certain witnesses?

Review Granted:  September 11, 2013.

Prediction:  Ben thinks the Supreme Court will reverse and remand for a new hearing in which the Defendant should be allowed to subpoena his witnesses. Without the witnesses who formed the crux of the Defendant’s petition for relief, the Defendant was left with at least one hand tied behind his back and unable to fully assert his claim as a matter of due process.