It was not until after Kenneth Stevens had already been sentenced to 216 months in prison for bank robbery that he learned the “associate” who sat second chair at his trial was not in fact an attorney, but rather his lawyer’s business partner and a convicted felon.

Last week, Southern District of New York Judge John F. Keenan ruled that the ostensible associate’s criminal background and lack of a law degree were insufficient grounds for finding ineffective assistance and rejected Stevens’ motion to vacate his conviction.

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