When most people hear the term malpractice, the first thing they tend to think of is medical. That makes sense considering it is one of the most common and potentially serious versions. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 225,000 deaths occur annually from medical malpractice.
There are, however, other types of malpractice, though most times they are not quite as serious as life and death. Unless, of course, it’s a person’s lifetime of liberty that’s in question. Some would argue that holds a similar level of importance, and such are the stakes in a recent case stemming from a murder conspiracy verdict.
The News-Herald.com in Ohio reported Tuesday that Kevin Knoefel, the man convicted of manipulating his teenage foster daughter to kill his wife with a knife in 2012, is suing his defense lawyers from that case for legal malpractice.
“Attorneys need to be held to a higher standard of professionalism, and they have to be held to a higher standard when it hurts the client,” said Joseph Patituce, the attorney Knoefel hired to represent him in this case.
According to the News-Herald, points of contention Knoefel is claiming in the lawsuit include:
- His lead lawyer in the case, Michael Connick, lied to him about his experience (and lack thereof) with murder cases,
- the legal team never hired an investigator as promised,
- and multiple attorneys charged him for the same work, but Connick was really the only person who worked on the case.
The suit also states that Connick’s “unprofessional behavior angered the judge to Kevin Knoefel’s detriment.”
The court records go on to state that, “During the criminal trial, Defendant Connick did not display the proper degree of skill required by a criminal defense attorney in a murder case.”
In addition to objecting to his own question, Connick is also accused of “unprofessional behavior [that] angered the trial judge” at Knoefel’s sentencing.
Losing a life based on medical negligence, or accidental missteps is always a tragedy. But a man that’s sentenced to life in prison, as is the case here, also has the right to ensure he got a fair and just trial. Whether you’re a lawyer or the person hiring one, legal malpractice is a real thing and should not be taken lightly.