Mich. SCt Finds Ineffective Assistance
In a rare unanimous opinion, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals ruling and found ineffective assistance of counsel in a sexual abuse case. In People v Richard Armstrong, Supreme Court No. 142762, the Defendant was charged with sexually assaulted a fifteen year old girl. The complainant testified she never communicated with the Defendant following her “rape.” The cell phone records showed to the contrary, but defense counsel did not know how to lay a proper foundation to admit them. When counsel failed to properly admit them, the prosecution argued it was a fabrication. At the Ginther hearing, defense counsel stated that he believed that a business record was self-authenticating. The trial court found that the Defendant was not prejudiced and the Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court per Zahara held that the Defendant was denied his right to ineffective assistance.