Docken v. Myrick

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Post-Conviction Relief
  • Date Filed: 08-16-2017
  • Case #: A157854
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: DeHoog, P.J. for the Court; Shorr, J.; & Sercombe, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Two elements must be established to prove inadequate counsel: (1) an attorney "failed to exercise reasonable professional skill and judgment," and (2) "counsel's failure had a tendency to affect the result of the trial." Montez v. Czerniak, 355 OR 1, 7 (2014).

Petitioner appealed the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief.  Petitioner assigned error to the trial court’s denial of his inadequate counsel claim. On appeal, Petitioner argued that the court applied an improper standard of prejudice when deciding his claim of inadequate counsel. State responded with a cross-assignment of error; the court erred in determining that the attorney’s absence from a pre-trial mental health screening constituted a breach of his professional skill and judgment. Two elements must be established to prove inadequate counsel: (1) an attorney "failed to exercise reasonable professional skill and judgment," and (2) "counsel's failure had a tendency to affect the result of the trial." Montez v. Czerniak, 355 OR 1, 7 (2014). The Court of Appeals determined that the trial court erroneously applied the standard of "[having] a significant effect on the outcome of the trial," by requiring the Petitioner to prove counsel's failure actually had a significant effect rather than the correct standard: counsel's failure could have a significant effect. Reversed and remanded as to petitioner’s second through ninth claims for relief; otherwise affirmed. 

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