ineffective assistance of counsel
in·ef·fec·tive assistance of counsel: representation of a criminal defendant that is so flawed as to deprive the defendant of a fair trial
claimed ineffective assistance of counsel following his conviction – called also ineffective assistance;
◇ Ineffective assistance of counsel is a violation of the guarantee of the assistance of counsel that is provided in the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A claim of ineffective assistance of counsel may be brought as a result of government interference with the attorney-client relationship that precludes effective representation, as when an informant is present during conversations between the attorney and the defendant. The existence of a conflict of interest on the part of the attorney may also be the basis for a claim. Most claims are, however, based on the attorney's failure to provide competent representation. Competent representation does not require the best representation, only a performance that is reasonable under prevailing professional norms.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

ineffective assistance of counsel
Representation of a criminal defendant, at trial or on appeal, by a court-appointed lawyer or a retained lawyer, that involved errors that were so serious that they resulted in the denial of a fair trial. Most errors do not rise to the level of ineffective assistance, though some are (such as failing to investigate the defendant's background in a death-penalty case, where the evidence might have led jurors to impose a sentence of life without parole instead of death).
Category: Criminal Law
Category: Small Claims Court & Lawsuits

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.


ineffective assistance of counsel
n. Basis for appeal of criminal conviction, on grounds that lawyer did not properly represent the defendant.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

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