There is an evolving body of case law and legal commentary that addresses the effectiveness of counsel issue as criminal defendants now challenge not the absence but the adequacy of representation. The present study poses questions to defense attorneys about their performance at the sentencing disposition stage of criminal proceedings. Using relevant American Bar Association Standards For Criminal Justice as the criteria of effective representation, a comparison is made between public defenders and private attorneys. From our analysis, we conclude that private attorneys and public defenders differed significantly on only one criterion for effective representation explaining alternative sentencing dispositions to the client. On this dimension, private attorneys conformed more closely to the ABA standards than public defenders.
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