United States v. Marshall, No. 18-3012 (D.C. Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The DC Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for six counts of sex trafficking and related crimes against minors, rejecting his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. The court held that the existing record left no doubt that counsel's failure to challenge the qualifications of an expert witness was not ineffective assistance of counsel. In this case, an objection to the expert's qualifications would have been meritless under the applicable legal standard; the expert's curriculum vitae listed extensive medical training in pediatrics, decades of on-the-job experience, and specialized knowledge reflected in peer-reviewed publications, other publications and expert reports, and dozens of lectures on the dynamics of child sex trafficking and victimization; and the court's cases clearly supported qualifying an expert witness on these facts. Furthermore, counsel's decision to press the defense by challenging the expert on three grounds other than qualifications fell within the reasonable range of professional assistance.