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Questionable criminal defense leads to overturned conviction

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To be convicted of a crime is a substantial and serious life experience. One hopes that during the conviction process, the legal system permits for a fair and just verdict. This is unfortunately not always the case, however. Occasionally crucial evidence is never presented, jury bias exists and even a legal advocate fails to do his or her job. Such a combination of factors is often a nightmare montage for criminal defense attorneys.

This may have unfortunately been the case for a man who previously pleaded guilty to two robbery cases. The Texas court of appeals recently held that due to inadequate legal representation, the guilty pleas could have been involuntary.

The man claims to have had an attorney who ignored crucial information, failed to question a witness who confessed to the crime, and even omitted investigating the mental health of his own client, who had a history of mental illness. The attorney, disbarred in 2010, was the reason the man's convictions were overturned in the recent Texas high court decision.

The appellate court which issued the ruling was following the recommendation of the lower court that oversaw the original hearing. The decision does not offer the man innocence, but only states that he was not given a fair trial originally,

Adequate representation in a criminal trial is absolutely tantamount to a fair and just process. Any weaknesses in the prosecution's case, or a lack of proper evidence, could mean that an accused individual is charged with a lessor crime or even goes completely free. Criminal prosecution is not to be taken lightly and deserves a vigorous defense.

Source: Dallas News, "Man who pleaded guilty in two Dallas robberies granted new trial after defense attorney disbarred," Jennifer Emily, March 27, 2013

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