Again, the majority chooses to dispose of an ineffective assistance of counsel claim rather than analyzing it. The Court instead explains that the record is insufficient to show that the Strickland requirements have been met. Under Strickland, a defendant must prove that there is no plausible professional reason for a specific act or omission. If there is no viable reason for counsel's trial conduct then why should we allow the opportunity to explain? The first prong of Strickland requires the defendant to demonstrate that trial counsel's performance fell below an objective standard of reasonableness. However, if counsel's errors were so obviously unprofessional then there should be no need for an explanation of his subjective intent. The majority states that in most cases, the record on direct appeal is insufficient to elucidate the motives behind trial counsel's actions. However, when the error is blatant and there is no possible trial strategy that could explain counsel's conduct then we don't need to know his subjective intent and there is no need for information outside the record. In such situations, appellant should be able to bring a direct appeal and obtain a judgment by the appellate court without this Court vitiating the decision. With this majority opinion, all the Court achieves is to wipe out a valid Court of Appeals opinion without a sufficient reason. Therefore, I dissent.
Filed: March 26, 2003