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Fourth Department — Effective Assistance of Counsel: People v. Wittman

Appellate Division, Fourth Department

Effective Assistance of Counsel

Inadequate Cross-examination

People v. Wittman
KA 08-02370
Appealed from Monroe County Court

Background: The defendant appealed his conviction of second-degree assault. The defendant claimed that he was denied effective assistance of counsel because of defense counsel’s failure to call certain persons as alibi witnesses. This issue was based on matters outside the record on appeal; therefore, a direct appeal is not the proper procedural vehicle. The defendant also contended that his defense counsel’s cross-examination was inadequate. Speculation that a more vigorous cross-examination might have undermined the credibility of witnesses does not establish ineffective assistance of counsel. The appellate court, viewing the totality of the evidence, found that the defendant received meaningful representation.

Ruling: Appeal was dismissed; the defendant received meaningful representation.

Mary P. Davison for the defendant; Matthew Dunham for the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office