United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Habeas Corpus — ineffective assistance — prejudice
To show an attorney was ineffective for not recommending a plea bargain, a defendant must show more than that most defendants would have accepted the plea.
“In order to find prejudice, we must be convinced that a disparately generous plea compels a fairminded jurist to conclude that the defendant would have a reasonable probability of accepting the plea. See Hutchings v. United States, 618 F.3d 693, 697 (7th Cir. 2010) (explaining that a petitioner ‘must . . . come forward with objective evidence’ supporting his contention). But as we have discussed, there are reasons a properly advised, rational defendant might still reject the plea Quintana was offered. The Illinois appellate court had to determine in the first instance whether Quintana fell into this subset. Quintana tries desperately to show that most or many defendants in his position would accept the plea. This is not enough. Quintana must offer something more than the large gap in sentence lengths to show that he would have accepted the sentence. Given that he presented no such evidence, we find that a reasonable basis existed for the state court’s determination that Quintana was not prejudiced by any deficiency on the part of his counsel.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Chang, J., Flaum, J.