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Name: People v. Callahan
Case #: B167543
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 11/18/2004
Subsequent History: 12/16/04: rhg den.

The principle of deference (that where a trial court grants a new trial based on prejudicial misconduct, the determination may be affirmed unless it constituted an abuse of discretion) applies with equal force to the granting of a new trial on the ground of ineffective assistance of counsel. Not only is the trial court’s determination of prejudice subject to an abuse of discretion standard of review, but also the trial court’s determination of whether counsel’s representation was deficient is subject to the same standard of review, and not to independent review. Therefore, where the trial court found that appellant’s trial counsel was ineffective for failing to sufficiently impeach the testimony of two witnesses who supported the prosecution theory, for failing to call appellant to testify for that purpose, and for failing to offer expert testimony to support a duress defense, the trial court’s order granting a new trial was affirmed. An appeal from an order granting a new trial is warranted only limited circumstances, such as when the trial court’s ruling is premised on an erroneous interpretation of a statutory scheme. Here, the trial judge determined that justice had not been served based on his observations throughout the proceedings. Therefore, it cannot be said that there was an abuse of discretion.