In the article, Hessick notes that, as difficult as it is to win ineffectiveness claims in general, it is even more difficult in non-capital sentencing decisions. She posits that part of the reluctance to entertain such claims may stem from the fact that one can only measure ineffectiveness of counsel against the background of substantive law that provides standards for determining what would constitute effective assistance. That law, Hessick argues, is not well-developed in the sentencing context. Accordingly, Hessick draws on ineffectiveness decisions in the capital context to provide a sufficient legal framework to analyze ineffectiveness claims in non-capital sentencing as well.
Hessick teaches Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, and a seminar on sentencing law and policy. Her research focuses on aggravation and mitigation in criminal sentencing, relative crime severity, and other political and doctrinal issues associated with sentencing.