If my lawyer didn’t submit evidence that I gave himwhich would have been helpful to me at trial, what can I do?

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If my lawyer didn’t submit evidence that I gave himwhich would have been helpful to me at trial, what can I do?

I am charged with sexual abuse at my apartment many years ago involving a child who was about 7 at the time. She claims she came there with her siblings but described the layout (number of rooms, etc) differently than it really was. I gave my lawyer the floor plan of my apartment and a letter from the apartmentt manager indicating I lived at the apartment and also corroborating the floor plan that I gave. When I was called to testify in my defense my lawyer was only willing to introduce the floor plan. He didn’t feel the letter was needed. The trial is not over can I do anything now?

Asked on May 14, 2011 under Criminal Law, New Jersey

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Exculpatory evidence, evidence that would exonerate you or show your innocence, is required to be given by the prosecution to the defense and must be given or else face a mistrial or full dismissal of the charges.  Evidence submitted by your lawyer should be considered but ultimately your lawyer must also be responsible for the type of evidence submitted as part of his or her strategy.  If the trial is not over and you did not do the crime and you feel the lawyer will help in some fashion (keeping in mind that the court may consider that a 7 year old's memory could be fleeting), you should raise the issue with your lawyer. If your trial attorney still refuses, consider asking the court in a motion due to ineffectual counsel to reassign a new attorney to your case.


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