In 2017, in Bahtuoh v. Smith, the Eighth Circuit held that a criminal defendant’s counsel was not ineffective for promising the jury that the defendant would testify, but failing to deliver on that promise. This Comment argues that the Eighth Circuit’s decision is in line with the decisions of other circuits in ineffective assistance of counsel cases where counsel promised the defendant’s testimony but later reneged on that promise. Courts should consider in their analysis, however, the impact such a decision may have on the jury, and that a stricter standard for evaluating counsel’s trial performance could adversely affect indigent defendants.
Alexandre Bou-Rhodes, When the Defendant Doesn't Testify: The Eighth Circuit Considers a Reasonable Broken Promise in Bahtuoh v. Smith, 59 B.C.L. Rev. E. Supp. 520 (2018), https://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol59/iss9/30