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Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

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Case: Clarence Nesbit v. State of Tennessee

Facts: Defendant was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death. On post-conviction review, Defendant alleged multiple grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel relating to a failure to obtain a mental evaluation, failure to convey a plea offer, failure to interview witnesses, failure to interview Defendant’s family members, and failure to investigate the victim. The post-conviction court denied his motion.

Appellate Decision: A divided intermediate court upheld the denial of the petition. The dissent disagreed and determined that trial counsel had been deficient so as to prejudice Defendant.

Issue: Was trial counsel ineffective?

Review Granted: August 13, 2013.

Prediction: The fact-driven nature of this case makes a prediction impossible without a thorough review of the record.