State v. Leroy M. Godard, 2010AP1731-CR, District 2, 6/22/11
Counsel’s failure to listen to police recordings of the interrogations of Godard’s accomplices, even if deficient, wasn’t prejudicial.
¶15 The postconviction motion hearing testimony shows that Godard’s case was not weakened without the line of questioning from the recordings. At trial, Godard was able to show the jury that two accomplice witnesses, both of whom had criminal records, had not been charged based on their own involvement in the crime for which Godard was charged. His attorney was then able to argue that Oyler in particular “probably had a deal.” The State, meanwhile, was able to emphasize that it would not make sense for the witnesses to lie because they were implicating themselves, too. On the other hand, if Godard’s attorney had used the interview recordings to ask more questions about the officer’s “golden ticket” comments, Godard and the jury would have learned that while promises were made by the police, there was never an enforceable deal between the district attorney’s office and either witness. Godard’s attorney could not have argued that either witness “got a deal,” but the State still would have been able to use the same argument as to the credibility of their testimony. Arguably, then, a line of questioning about the “golden ticket” comments and a possible deal would have strengthened the State’s case, not Godard’s. We certainly cannot say it was prejudicial.