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Criminal Justice

Lawyer’s Trial Boycott Strategy Worked

Posted Nov 5, 2007 10:45 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Texas’ highest criminal appeals court has handed a lawyer who boycotted his client’s trial the ruling he desired.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in a 5-4 decision Oct. 17 that lawyer Christopher Hoover provided ineffective assistance of counsel, Texas Lawyer reports. The court ordered a new trial for Hoover’s client, who was charged with driving under the influence.

Hoover told Texas Lawyer he refused to participate because the trial judge forced him to go to trial before he could complete preparation. He had hoped his boycott would result in a new trial.

The jury had deliberated only 15 minutes before finding the client guilty.

“We are not persuaded by the state's argument that holding as we do today will encourage other defense counsel to engage in the conduct condemned,” the appeals court wrote. “Under the Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, every defense counsel owes to his client his zealousness, competence, and diligence. A defense counsel failing in those obligations opens himself up to disciplinary proceedings as well as a civil suit for malpractice.”

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