ineffective counsel, ineffective representation, death penalty, two-prong standard, Strickland standard


“. . . [D]eath-penalty cases are different from other criminal cases, due to the obvious finality of the punishment.” Thirty-one executions have taken place in Arkansas since 1990. In February of 2017, Arkansas, uniquely, sought to execute eight inmates in eleven days—the so-called “Arkansas Eight.” All of those death row inmates shared a common postconviction claim: Strickland. Prior to Strickland v. Washington, no Supreme Court jurisprudence made clear what constituted objectively sufficient defense representation pursuant to the Sixth Amendment. But that changed in 1984 when Strickland made clear that the Sixth Amendment included the right of effective assistance of counsel.