Cartwirght v. CaldwellAnnotate this Case
During his 2007 trial, Derrick Cartwright raised an alibi defense to charges of murder and other crimes in connection with the shooting death of Kevin Stafford. Cartwright was convicted and sentenced to serve life in prison plus five years. On direct appeal, he claimed among other things that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to challenge a police detective's testimony that Cartwright had not mentioned his alibi during his post-arrest police interview. The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed Cartwright’s convictions, rejecting his claim that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to introduce the testimony, finding Cartwright had not shown prejudice because at the motion for new trial hearing, he failed to call the detective as a witness or introduce a transcript of the detective’s preliminary hearing testimony. Cartwright then filed a petition for habeas corpus, alleging among other things that his appellate counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to introduce evidence to prove trial counsel’s ineffectiveness in failing to impeach the detective. The habeas court denied the petition. The Supreme Court granted Cartwright’s application to appeal for consideration of whether the habeas court erred in ruling that Cartwright had not shown that his appellate counsel provided ineffective assistance. The Supreme Court concluded the habeas court’s ruling was erroneous, and therefore reversed the denial of habeas relief.