Commonwealth v. Little

In Commonwealth v. Little, the Superior Court held that the defendant’s trial counsel was ineffective for not objecting to the judge’s ruling on an evidentiary issue and, thus, failing to preserve the issue for direct appellate review. Under a strict interpretation of the case law concerning the prejudice prong for a claim of ineffective assistance, counsel’s deficient performance at trial–failing to renew an objection and thereby waiving an appellate issue–could have had no immediate effect on the outcome of the verdict at the trial stage of the proceedings. Therefore, to remedy counsel’s deficient performance as to that related and previously waived appellate issue, the Court granted the defendant leave to file a notice of appeal to raise this one ground so that its merits may be considered as if it were raised for the first time on direct appeal.

LITTLE