Monday, March 14, 2016

Man's sentence overturned because his lawyer slept through the trial

Nikita V. Mackey (left) fell asleep during Nicholas Ragin's (right) 2006 trial.
Nicholas Ragin who was convicted for conspiracy and racketeering has had his 's 30-year prison sentence overturned because his lawyer Nikita V Mackey, slept on and off throughout his trial.

Ragin had served 10 years of his sentence before the US 4th Circuit Court of Appeals had his 2006 conviction thrown out.

Appeals Judge Roger Gregory explained the decision: "We hold that a defendant is deprived of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel when counsel sleeps during a substantial portion of the defendant’s trial.


"Nicholas Ragin’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel was violated not because of specific legal errors or omissions indicating incompetence in counsel’s representation but because Ragin effectively had no legal assistance during a substantial portion of his trial," a statement read.

One witness testified at the appeals hearing in Richmond, Virginia, that Mackey was asleep "frequently...almost every day morning and evening" for "30 minutes at least".


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