Update: Mark Bennett adds his thoughts.
Warning: this is a rant. This has been festering inside me for quite a while now. Occasionally, I will try habeas corpus cases. Some of them will be challenges to pleas, enforcement of plea agreements and then the usual ineffective assistance claims. What really grinds my gears is the lack of co-operation from trial counsel. It seems as though there is a certain percentage of attorneys that don’t like it when their former clients file petitions for writ of habeas corpus alleging IAC.
Why? Isn’t it supposed to be about the client? Isn’t that the bottom line? My view has always been that IAC claims don’t mean that I’m a bad lawyer; merely that someone else sees something that I didn’t do. If that will help my client, I am all for it. I just don’t understand that mentality. I’ve had attorneys fail to turn over files, turn over files that are about 2 cms thick, refuse to cooperate prior to the hearing – even testify adversely to the client to save face [I’m obviously not advocating blindly “falling on the sword”, but c’mon].
If you are ever the focus of a habeas petition, talk to the habeas lawyer. Another thing that does is gives the habeas attorney information. Clients claim many things; you might be able to help the habeas lawyer sort out the colorable claims from the frivolous ones.
I don’t know, it just grinds my gears. On that note, enjoy this video: