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Criminal Procedure Keyed to Allen
Cuyler v. Sullivan
Citation:446 U.S. 335 (1990).
The Respondent, John Sullivan was indicted with two other men for the murder of two individuals. Two lawyers represented all three defendants in state proceedings following the indictment. At no point did the Respondent or the two attorneys object to the multiple representation. The Respondent was the first defendant to be tried. The evidence against him was entirely circumstantial and at the close of the prosecution’s case, the defense rested without presenting any evidence. The Respondent was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. The other two defendants were acquitted at separate trials. The Respondent then petitioned for collateral relief, arguing that he had ineffective assistance of counsel as his attorneys represented conflicting interests. At hearings, the two attorneys gave conflicting accounts of the decision to rest the Respondent’s defense. The Respondent testified that he deferred to his attorneys’ decision not to present evidence for the defense although there was other testimony suggesting he did not take the stand in order to avoid exposing an affair. The Court of Common Pleas did not make a decision on the claim that the Respondent’s attorney had a conflict of interest. However, they did find that the Respondent was fully informed on the decision not to testify.
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