Workman v. Superintendent Albion SCI, No. 16-1969 (3d Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Workman, one of two people to shoot Hunt in 2006, was convicted of first-degree murder in Pennsylvania on a theory of transferred intent. His trial counsel, pursuing “a unique theory of criminal liability,” did not meaningfully test the Commonwealth’s case, having told Workman that he could not be convicted of murder because Hunt was already dead when he was struck by Workman’s bullet. Based on this representation, Workman declined a plea bargain for a 20-year term of imprisonment. Workman’s post-conviction counsel failed to make a claim for ineffective assistance of trial counsel based on failure to present a cogent defense. The Third Circuit reversed the dismissal of his habeas petition, 28 U.S.C. 2254. Although his claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel was procedurally defaulted in state post-conviction relief proceedings, that default should be excused because his state post-conviction counsel rendered ineffective assistance. On the face of the record, trial counsel’s assistance was manifestly ineffective, having included calling no witnesses, presenting no evidence, and arguing inconsistently with the testimony in evidence.