The case below highlights just how complicated the legal profession can be. Basically, the Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis (CBLA) was accepted in 1993 as reliable in the scientific community. However, several years later, in 2006, the CBLA was no longer accepted as reliable. However, despite the CBLA no longer being accepted as reliable the Supreme Court refused to find that the Defendant’s legal Counsel was “ineffective”. This undoubtedly is what keeps lawyers and legal professionals up into the late night hours preparing for trial.
Here, more than a decade later after the conviction the state no longer accepts the CBLA as reliable. Hence, the Defendant and his legal team desired to have the conviction over turned based on incompetent of counsel. The United States Supreme Court said “No” despite the Court of Appeals in Maryland finding that the attorney should have questioned the validity of the CBLA.
What I like about this case is it shows just how complicated a case can become. Here, you have well-respected Maryland Judges not agreeing with well-respected Supreme Court Justices.
The Supreme Court “adopted the rule of contemporary assessment of counsel’s conduct.” This in essence judges the conduct of the attorney based on what was accepted at the time the Defendant went to trial. If this was the only source of evidence then we all should have a serious problem with this standard. However, in the case at hand the Supreme Court found that there was other evidence (i.e. witness testimony, and other physical evidence) that the jury looked at in considering the guilt or innocence of the Defendant. Had there been no additional evidence that a reasonable jury could have based their conviction on I am sure the United States Supreme Court would have not allowed this man to be convicted of a crime.