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Attorney can testify in ineffective assistance case even if there’s no client waiver, judge rules

Posted Feb 18, 2014 6:55 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A criminal defense lawyer can testify in his former client's appeal asserting ineffective assistance of counsel, even if the ex-client hasn't waived attorney-client privilege, a Kansas judge ruled

Under Kansas law, explained Shawnee County District Court Judge Nancy Parrish, no privilege applies in an ineffective assistance case, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports.

Antwan Peppers, 41, testified Thursday that he couldn't have committed the two shootings 2006 underlying his first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder convictions because he was with a cousin and two women. However, his former lead defense attorney, Wendell Betts, testified that an investigator had gotten an inconsistent statement from a girlfriend of Peppers, who said the two drove past the scene of the shootings that night as two ambulances passed in the opposite direction.

He called his client's claimed alibi "problematic" and said he decided not to used after conferring with two other defense lawyers because "I didn't think it was in his best interest."

Peppers is serving a "Hard 50" sentence for the murder of Jermaine E. Cunningham, 20, followed by another sentence of nearly 23 years for the attempted murder of another man at the same restaurant and bar.

Updated Feb. 19 to correct a typographical error.

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