Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Requires New SORA Hearing
At the SORA hearing, defense counsel presented only one argument concerning one risk factor and conceded the remaining points, and the hearing court adjudicated our client the highest risk level. On appeal, we argued that counsel was ineffective for challenging points premised on a baseless argument and failing to advance arguments that were meritorious. The Appellate Division agreed, noting that the sole argument defense counsel raised “was clearly devoid of merit,” counsel conceded points when there were viable arguments to raise, and other statements made by counsel indicated an unfamiliarity with the applicable law. Because, in totality, defense counsel did not provide meaningful representation, the level three determination was reversed and a new SORA hearing was ordered.
Ava C. Page represented Mr. Echols