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Minnesota appeals court affirms criminal sexual conduct convictions in Chippewa County

A man convicted of criminal sexual conduct in Chippewa County lost an appeal on a claim of ineffective legal counsel

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Tyrese Thomas

ST. PAUL β€” The Court of Appeals has affirmed the convictions in Chippewa County of a defendant serving a 306-month prison sentence for first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct. The court issued its decision May 18.

Tyrese Thomas, 41, appealed his convictions on a number of claims, including that he had ineffective counsel in prior court proceedings.

A Chippewa County jury found him guilty of the two felony charges in October 2014. He allegedly had sexual contact with a 12-year-old in 2012 when he was 34 years old, according to the court record.

Prior to taking the case to trial, he had rejected a plea agreement under which he would have received a 119-month prison sentence.

Thomas argued that his attorneys should have raised a number of claims he made in a direct appeal following his conviction. The Court of Appeals stated in its decision that legal counsel need not raise claims that they could legitimately conclude would not prevail.

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In respect to his claim of ineffective counsel, the court stated: β€œHere, it is clear that an appellate attorney could have legitimately concluded that an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim would not succeed.”

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