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Conditional Grant of Habeas Relief On Ineffective Assistance Claim

By FindLaw Staff on April 15, 2010 4:18 PM

In English v. Romanowski, No. 08-2611, the Sixth Circuit faced a challenge to the district court's decision to grant a conditional habeas relief on the ground that defendant's trial counsel rendered him ineffective assistance. 

Here, the district court erred in granting defendant's habeas relief on the ground that the trial counsel was ineffective for failing to call a witness, as it cannot be said that it was an unreasonable application of Strickland for the state court to find that defendant failed to rebut the presumption of reasonableness with respect to his attorney's decision.  However, district court was correct to grant relief on the ground that the trial counsel's failure to adequately investigate the decision not to call the witness before trial was deficient performance under the first prong of Strickland test and but for counsel's ineffectiveness, there is a reasonable probability that the outcome would have been different. 

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