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Home / Opinions / Courts / Court of Appeals, Eastern District / Criminal Law: Felony Murder-Motion to Set Aside Conviction-Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Criminal Law: Felony Murder-Motion to Set Aside Conviction-Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Defendant was charged with abuse of a child resulting in death. Pre-trial, defense counsel moved to exclude the victim’s autopsy results. The trial court ruled that the autopsy need not have been performed by a certified child death pathologist and denied the motion. Following a guilty verdict, defendant moved to set aside his conviction, arguing that counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the medical examiner’s testimony on grounds he was statutorily unqualified to perform the autopsy.

Where counsel declined to object to an adverse expert witness so as not to bolster the witness’s credibility, the failure to object represented reasonable trial strategy where the objection would have likely failed and posed no prejudice where the witness’s testimony was cumulative of other evidence.

Judgment is affirmed.

Evans v. State (MLW No. 73294/Case No. SD35635 – 7 pages) (Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, Bates, J.) Appealed from Circuit Court, Phelps County, Beger, J. (Casey Allen Taylor for Appellant) (Daniel Neal McPherson for Respondent)