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Name: Hoffman v. Arave
Case #: 02-99004
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/05/2006
Summary

Trial counsel rendered prejudicial ineffective assistance during plea bargaining where his advice to the defendant was based on incomplete research. Counsel advised the defendant to reject a deal that would have foreclosed the prosecution from seeking the death penalty based on his view that it was only a matter of time until the Idaho death penalty scheme was declared unconstitutional. Counsel’s belief was based on a not-yet-final case finding Arizona’s death penalty scheme unconstitutional. While it was not unreasonable to draw a connection between the Arizona death penalty scheme and Idaho’s, the attorney based his advise on that single case and not the general landscape in which that case arose. Plus, this was a big risk in light of the potential downside, imposition of the death penalty. The proper remedy is reinstatement of the offer of the plea agreement.