Muniz v. Smith, No. 09-2324 (6th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Petitioner, convicted of a non-fatal shooting, was sentenced as a habitual offender to 29-1/2 to 60 years for assault with intent to commit murder, to run concurrently with a sentence of 40 to 60 months for a felon-in-possession conviction, and a consecutive term of two years for a felony firearm conviction. He claims that his Sixth Amendment right to counsel was violated because his attorney fell asleep while he was being cross-examined. Michigan state courts rejected appeals. The district court denied habeas relief. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. At most, the attorney was asleep for part of a single cross-examination; a petitioner must show that his attorney slept through a substantial portion of the trial for the "Cronic" presumption of prejudice to attach. Noting the overwhelming evidence, the court stated that petition did not show a reasonable probability that counsel could have prevented prejudicial events from occurring had he been awake, much less that it would have affected the outcome of the trial. Although the attorney was later arrested for cocaine use, there was no evidence that he was using cocaine during the trial..