Another post-conviction proceeding, another finding of ineffective assistance of counsel. Last week, Patrick Mulligan’s expert witness testimony led to another favorable post-conviction ruling for yet another defendant.
Patrick testified on behalf of an indigent Defendant with severe mental health issues. The Defendant’s initial lawyer failed to investigate or gather records regarding the client’s mental illness. Counsel advised the Defendant to accept a plea bargain that included a felony conviction. When the Defendant allegedly failed to comply with Probation, the evidence revealed that he had a long-standing history of Schizophrenia, including auditory hallucinations and psychotic behavior.
At the hearing on the Defendant’s Rule 35c motion in in Adams County District Court, Patrick testified that the Defendant’s first lawyer had provided ineffective assistance of counsel, and that the incompetence clearly prejudiced the client.
The district court agreed on the first count. The Court found that the failure to investigate the Defendant’s mental health issues, and failure to obtain and review records of prior psychiatric evaluations, constituted ineffective assistance of counsel. The Court then ordered that an updated competency evaluation be performed, to determine whether the Defendant is competent to proceed. As in many other cases, Patrick Mulligan’s expert testimony in a Rule 35c proceeding led to post-conviction relief for the defendant.
Improper and inadequate representation of mentally ill defendants is a significant problem in Colorado. Many defendants have significant psychiatric disorders, from Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder to PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety. Criminal defense attorneys have a duty to provide competent assistance to clients with mental illness.
If you or someone you know has received inadequate or ineffective assistance of counsel, contact us at 303-295-1500. Patrick Mulligan and Marshall Breit have significant experience in Rule 35c post-conviction litigation. We are here to help.