Publication Date



The constitutional right to counsel is a guarantee of
effective counsel, but vindicating this right through an
ineffective assistance of counsel challenge (IC) is difficult
for most defendants, especially indigent ones. In Georgia,
the difficulty of arguing a successful IAC claim is
heightened by strange rules for when such claims can be
raised. Georgia long has adhered to an IAC timing
approach that few other jurisdictions still follow and the
Supreme Court has rejected, threatening waiver if
defendants do not argue IAC as early as practicable.
When appellate counsel is new, this opportunity is the
direct appeal. In contrast, most courts prefer that IAC
claims be raised at collateral review.
In 2008, the Georgia Supreme Court made the state's
rules even more unique, suggesting that indigent
defendants were entitled to new appellate counsel without
any threshold showing of merit, which (though unspoken
by the court) would jump-start the ticking clock toward
waiver. Many lambasted this rule as deepening perceived
problems with Georgia's IAC timing rules in an indigent
defense system already struggling for resources. A pair of

2010 cases, however, suggests that the state court may be
tempering both this no-threshold rule and Georgia's
approach to IAC timing, more broadly.
This Note evaluates those cases and their implications
for Georgia's rules, as well as the larger debate about the
ideal approach to IAC timing.