Criminal defendants rely on their lawyers to provide the most vigorous and capable representation possible, and the adversarial system depends upon it, but observers of modern American criminal justice confront the troubling reality that routine practice often falls short. Constitutionally ineffective representation harms us all, no less than a discriminatory prosecutor or a corrupt judge, but identifying it can be much harder. It isn’t necessarily intentional, it’s sometimes only clear in hindsight, and it is rarely assessed until long after the fact, when perceptions and positions have been hardened by the outcome of a case. And accurately assessing whether representation was ineffective depends, under current jurisprudence, in large measure on the cooperation of the defense lawyer.
Even with the best of intentions, criminal defense lawyers labor under difficult circumstances and mistakes are inevitable. Even the very best criminal defense lawyer can be constitutionally ineffective in any particular case, and most of us are not the very best lawyer, only the best lawyer we can be. This site is devoted to ensuring that lawyers constitutionally and ethically act as the very best lawyers they can be, before, during and after their representation has ended.
This is the Continuing Duty.