In the criminal courts of this country, we say that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Many times this means that a jury of the defendant's peers finds the evidence against him or her to overwhelmingly suggest guilt. However, there are still times when the jury is wrong, and an innocent man is found guilty of a crime he did not commit.
One of the guarantees of the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the right for an accused person to have an attorney, or counsel, in a trial with charges against him/her. If there is a deficient performance by that counsel, and the result of the trial may have been different had it not been for that specific performance, an accused person may appeal a conviction under the terms of ineffective assistance of counsel through the Sixth Amendment.
When you are accused of a crime, there are certain rights that you are afforded. The sixth amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides clear criteria for those rights. One of the guaranteed rights is that the accused have the right to the assistance of counsel in a case against them. The U.S. Supreme Court has gone a step further in this requirement and ruled that states must provide a public defender for those criminals who may be indignant and unable to retain their own lawyer.
Ineffective assistance of counsel is a legal statute that gives persons convicted of a crime a chance to have their case reviewed. It is based on evidence that the defense attorney did a poor job of representation, which resulted in the conviction and/or sentencing. This was the argument that the attorneys of John Gary Hardwick Jr. used in an appeals case with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.