Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Rarest of Birds: A Defense Victory in a Non-Capital Habeas Case

According to an empirical study, approximately 0.3% of non-capital habeas petitions are successful. On Tuesday, Vonlee Titlow, a prisoner incarcerated at the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia, joined this exclusive club. In Titlow v. Burt (10-2488), Judges Gilman and Clay (with Judge Batchelder dissenting) found that Titlow's attorney had been constitutionally ineffective and granted the writ.

Michigan charged Titlow with second-degree murder in 2000. Titlow's first lawyer negotiated a plea agreement for a 7-to-15 year sentence. Titlow's second attorney, however, advised Titlow to withdraw the plea agreement and go to trial. This attorney totally failed to investigate the case before giving said advise. A jury convicted Titlow and she was sentenced to 20-to-40 years. A majority of the panel found this to constitute ineffective assistance under Strickland. Judge Batchelder did not think that the attorney had been the primary cause of Titlow undoing the plea, and so dissented.

14 comments:

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Titlow's second attorney, however, advised Titlow to withdraw the plea agreement and go to trial. This attorney totally failed to investigate the case before giving said advise. A jury convicted Titlow and she was sentenced to 20-to-40 years.

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This attorney totally failed to investigate the case before giving said advise. A jury convicted Titlow and she was sentenced to 20-to-40 years

Anonymous said...

Titlow withdrew her plea because the prosecutor originally offered her 7 years to testify against the other defendant in this case. Titlow became greedy and said she would testify if they offered her 3 years. Prosecution declined and took Vonlee to trial where she, on record, stated that she did indeed do the crime. This is insane that she the possibility to be freed from a crime of murder. There is more to this story.

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This attorney totally failed to investigate the case before giving said advise. A jury convicted Titlow and she was sentenced to 20-to-40 years. A majority of the panel found this to constitute ineffective assistance under Strickland.

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Titlow's second attorney, however, advised Titlow to withdraw the plea agreement and go to trial. This attorney totally failed to investigate the case before giving said advise.

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A jury convicted Titlow and she was sentenced to 20-to-40 years. A majority of the panel found this to constitute ineffective assistance under Strickland

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