The appeal included juror misconduct, but the Judge only commented on the ineffective assistance of counsel, citing these reasons why her attorney's efforts did not meet the legal standard required by the Constitution:
"He missed many areas that would have been fruitful for his defense," Deddeh said. "And in missing those areas, I believe he was ineffective."
Those areas included failing to object to controversial evidence about the arsenic test results; failing to call witnesses to debate questionable testimony from state investigators about the ease with which one may obtain arsenic; and failing to counter or investigate testimony that the Marine base where Todd Sommer worked was free of arsenic.
The judge also found that Udell made the crucial mistake of posing questions to witnesses about Sommer's behavior after Todd's death.
Udell testified Friday, before the court's ruling, that he was "scared to death" of the potential consequences his errors might have on his 30-year practice.
He told the judge that his belief in Sommer's innocence had blinded him at trial. "It was a dead-bang winner as far as I was concerned," Udell said, adding that he had not slept since the verdict. "I was stunned. I'm a broken man."
Bloom called Udell a passionate attorney who suffered from "legal glaucoma."