When facing criminal charges, especially those that carry life-altering consequences, defendants place tremendous trust in their attorneys. Mistakes made due to oversights or incompetence can leave a client serving time behind bars or worse. New York residents whose lawyers fail to provide appropriate counsel or neglect their duties in other ways may face claims of legal malpractice. In one high-profile case in another state, a missed deadline may leave a woman imprisoned for the rest of her life.
Jodi Arias' highly publicized murder trial made her a celebrity of sorts. The enigmatic woman was charged with first-degree murder after the brutalized body of her boyfriend was discovered in his home. After denying her involvement in the killing, Arias eventually confessed, claiming she was defending herself against the man's abuse. In 2013, a jury rejected her explanation and convicted her of murdering her boyfriend in a fit of jealousy.
This past week, Arias' attorneys missed a critical deadline to file an appeal of the murder conviction that resulted in a life sentence for their client. The day after the missed deadline, her attorneys requested an extension, saying they are struggling with staffing issues and illness in their offices, as well as problems with their computers. This will be the second extension request; the first one came after court reporters were unable to produce a complete transcript of the case, again citing illness and computer malfunctions.
While many clients of attorneys in New York may not have the high level of publicity this case received, they still have the right to competent counsel. While waiting for an attorney to file the appropriate paperwork, time spent behind bars is time lost from family and the chance to rebuild one's life. When an attorney fails to comply with court-ordered deadlines, those clients may be victims of legal malpractice and have every right to seek redress with the help of an experienced attorney.
Source: foxnews.com, "Jodi Arias lawyers miss deadline to appeal murder conviction; request extension", March 5, 2018