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Ninth Circuit Reverses Death Penalty Case Finding Trial Attorney Rendered Ineffective Assistance.and Nevada Failed to Adequately Fund and Staff the Case

Posted by Fay Arfa | Feb 14, 2022 | 0 Comments

     The Ninth Circuit held that trial  counsel's  investigation, preparation, and execution of their  chosen insanity  defense  fell  below  an  objective standard  of  reasonableness. The Ninth Circuit wrote that  (1)  trial counsel's most  significant  error  was failing  to  call  as a witness—or  consult  at  all—the  expert  the  trial  court  had appointed  to  assess Rogers's competency  for  trial  and  sanity at  the  time  of the  offenses; (2)  this  error was  compounded  by the  inadequate  preparation of  counsel's  chosen mental  health experts; (3)  trial counsel performed  deficiently  by  not preparing  to  rebut the  State's  mental health  expert.(4)  trial counsel's  failure  to  explain  the  elements  of  the Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) defense  to  the  jury  in  their  opening statement  fell below  an  objective standard  of  reasonableness. 

     The Ninth Circuit found prejudice because a  reasonable  likelihood existed that  Rogers's NGRI  defense would  have succeeded  if  trial  counsel  had performed  effectively. Although  trial counsel's  performance  was  replete  with errors,  the Ninth Circuit emphasized  that  the  State's staffing  and funding of  Rogers's  case  contributed  to the  errors.   

About the Author

Fay Arfa

Fay Arfa has the distinction of being Certified as a Specialist in two separate areas of law – Criminal Law as well as Appellate Law – by the California State Bar, Board of Specialization. The National Board of Trial Advocacy has also awarded her a board Certification in Criminal Trial Advocacy. ...


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