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Obeying the Constitution Is Not Ineffective Assistance

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Matthew Hale headed a profoundly racist group called the World Church of the Creator.  He lost a trademark suit with another, older group of the same name.  He had two responses:  (1) change the name of the group to the Creativity Movement, and (2) put out a contract of the life of the judge.

Number 2 got him in trouble.  He was convicted of soliciting a crime of violence and obstructing justice.  The Seventh Circuit affirmed on direct appeal in 2006, 448 F.3d 971.

He's back on collateral review.  Among his claims are, you guessed it, ineffective assistance of counsel.  The Seventh Circuit was unimpressed again.  "Hale's other principal contention is that, before taking over his own defense, he received ineffective assistance of counsel. He complains about almost everything counsel did or did not do." 

Among the failings of counsel was not challenging all the black people off the jury.  Of course there is the minor problem that doing so is unconstitutional, see Georgia v.
McCollum, 505 U.S. 42 (1992), and possibly a criminal offense.  See 18 U.S.C. ยง243.  In addition, Judge Easterbrook points out that the Creativity Movement hates such a wide variety of people that it would not be possible to challenge them all.

Sheri Qualters has this story at NLJ (registration required).  The case is Hale v. United States, No. 11-3868 (Mar. 5, 2013).

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