For many facing criminal charges in New York, the advice and representation of an attorney is their best hope of receiving a fair trial. An attorney who understands the law, the workings of the courts, and the methods of judges and other attorneys can give sound counsel for the best possible outcome for a client. On the other hand, if an attorney offers advice based on incorrect information, a client may suffer great harm, including the loss of freedom. Such a client may have cause to file a legal malpractice claim.
In another state, a woman was facing charges of murder after allegedly shooting a woman who was dating her ex-boyfriend. A few days into the trial, apparently on the advice of her attorney, the woman entered a plea of guilty but mentally ill. The woman claims her attorney told her that entering such a plea was the only way she could be housed apart from the general population in prison and receive mental health treatment.
However, after being taken to prison, the woman discovered that all prisoners receive mental health care and that she was not placed in a separate ward. The woman claims she would never have entered a guilty plea if she had known these two factors. Instead, she would have let the trial continue.
After the appellate court rejected the woman's request to withdraw her plea, the state supreme court granted her motion. The woman also received approval for a hearing to determine whether her attorney committed legal malpractice by giving her wrong advice. New York clients whose lawyers give ineffective counsel may also have the right to seek redress through the civil courts with the assistance of an attorney.