What is the test for ineffective representation in a personal injury action?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from The People v. Alonso, F058239, No. VCF195586 (Cal. App. 2010):

"Our review is deferential; we make every effort to avoid the distorting effects of hindsight and to evaluate counsel's conduct from counsel's perspective at the time. [Citation.] A court must indulge a strong presumption that counsel's acts were within the wide range of reasonable professional assistance. [Citation.]... Nevertheless, deference is not abdication; it cannot shield counsel's performance from meaningful scrutiny or automatically validate challenged acts and omissions. [Citation.]" (People v. Dennis (1998) 17 Cal.4th 468, 540-541.)

"If the record contains an explanation for the challenged aspect of counsel's representation, the reviewing court must determine 'whether the explanation demonstrates that counsel was reasonably competent and acting as a conscientious, diligent advocate.' [Citation.] On the other hand, if the record contains no explanation for the challenged behavior, an appellate court will reject the claim of ineffective assistance 'unless counsel was asked for an explanation and failed to provide one, or unless there simply could be no satisfactory explanation....' [Citation.]" (People v. Cudjo (1993) 6 Cal.4th 585, 623.)

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