Panel Discussion of Effective Assistance of Counsel: The Constitutional Standard


SUSAN HERMAN: In defining and articulating standards for effective assistance of counsel, one could take any number of different approaches. One perspective might focus on how to formulate systemic standards for defense counsel, and how to communicate to the criminal defense bar what it needs todo to become effective. An example of this is the ABA standards.

A second view might concentrate on how to measure whether counsel in a particular case is providing or has provided effective assistance of counsel. If standards exist, accurate measurement may be a matter of monitoring compliance with those standards. If standards do not exist, there is the more general problem of measuring effectiveness in individual cases. Both views present the same question for our consideration today: under what circumstances should a criminal conviction be reversed on the ground that counsel was so ineffective as to violate the sixth amendment?

Before opening up the floor to a general discussion, I’d like to allow Professor Goodpaster about two minutes to reply.

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