In recent years, dissatisfied criminal defendants have increasingly resorted to claims alleging actual ineffectiveness of counsel as a vehicle for challenging their convictions. Prior to Strickland v. Washington, the Supreme Court had not delineated the "proper standards" for reviewing claims of actual ineffectiveness of counsel. The lack of a national standard for assessing defense counsel's performance, as it relates to the constitutional requirement, generated extensive deliberation by lower courts and commentators. Faced with a deluge of actual ineffectiveness claims, the lower courts were forced to formulate standards to distinguish effective from ineffective assistance. However, the ensuing diverse standards employed by the courts resulted in an unjust jurisdictional discrepancy in the adjudication of those claims. This ad hoc treatment demonstrated the exigence for a resolution of these conflicting standards. In order to rectify the problematic situation confronting the criminal judicial system, the Supreme Court in Strickland espoused homogeneous standards for judging a criminal defendant's contention that the Constitution mandates reversing a conviction because of actual ineffectiveness of counsel at the trial or sentencing phase.
VanBuren, Susan K.
"The Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Quandry: The Debate Continues Strickland v. Washington,"
Akron Law Review: Vol. 18:
2, Article 8.
Available at: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol18/iss2/8