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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 148428 Find in a Library
Journal: Maryland Law Review  Volume:53  Issue:1  Dated:(1994)  Pages:244-261
Author(s): T K LaMaster
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 18
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In Lockhart v. Fretwell, the United States Supreme Court held that in a capital sentencing proceeding, an attorney's failure to make an objection that would have been supported by a decision which later was overruled, did not constitute ineffective assistance and therefore did not violate the defendant's rights under the Sixth Amendment.
Abstract: The Court also ruled that the retroactive application of new rules in Federal habeas corpus appeals is permissible when application of the new rule does not undermine a State's finality and reliance interests. This ruling modified the prejudice prong of the test for ineffective assistance of counsel put forth in Strickland v. Washington and added a third exception to the retroactivity rule laid out in Teague v. Lane. This article reviews the legal background of Fretwell, emphasizing the development of the prejudice standard for ineffective assistance of counsel claims and the evolution of the retroactivity rule in the context of habeas corpus. The author argues that the Fretwell decision will make it more difficult for defendants to prove ineffective counsel claims. The alteration of the Teague standard implies that defendants who suffer errors based on law in force at the time of their trial will be compelled to make their case for Federal habeas relief under subsequent precedent whenever subsequent precedent benefits the State's defense against collateral claims. 145 notes
Main Term(s): Courts
Index Term(s): Attorney competence; Capital punishment; Habeas corpus; Retroactive application of legislation; US Supreme Court decisions
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