Bloomberg Law
May 25, 2023, 4:04 PM

Lawyer’s Failure to Call Witness, Give Closing Doomed Client

Bernie Pazanowski
Bernie Pazanowski

A Nevada teenager convicted of second-degree murder after getting into a fight at a party is entitled to federal relief from his sentence, the Ninth Circuit said.

Zachary Kelsey was denied effective assistance by his lawyer, who failed to consult a forensic witness and opted not to give a closing argument at trial, the opinion by Judge Ronald M. Gould said Wednesday.

Kelsey was convicted and sentenced to 10-to-25 years in prison for his alleged role in the victim’s death. But at his post-conviction hearing, a new doctor said that a second attack by Kelsey’s codefendants probably killed the victim. ...

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