Pennsylvania Superior Court Banishes Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Claims to PCRA only

Filed under: Criminal Law, News Tags: by Steven F. Fairlie @ July 25, 2011

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has dramatically limited the manner of attacking criminal convictions for ineffective assistance of counsel. Whereas a clear cut case of ineffective assistance of counsel could previously be litigated on direct appeal (so long as a record had been made) even after Commonwealth v. Grant, it now must await PCRA review. This can result in years of additional litigation and incarceration, at great expense to the state, before wrongs can be righted. Moreover, a criminal defendant now will face the Hobson’s Choice of whether to take advantage of direct appeal or waive that opportunity and proceed directly to PCRA. If is stands this decision will have a major impact on Pennsylvania appeals and post-conviction litigation.

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