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U.S. v. COLEMAN

United States District Court, S.D. New York


September 8, 2005.

United States of America
v.
Carl Coleman.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: LEWIS KAPLAN, District Judge

I write with respect to the hearing scheduled before Your Honor on Friday, September 9, 2005. We sought a remand back to the lower court to determine whether or not the actions of Mr. Coleman's lawyers, Valerie Amsterdam and John Jacobs, were in some way influenced against his interests by their awareness or knowledge that they were being investigated by the same federal government that was prosecuting him, and acted in some way to curry favor with the government by not fully and properly defending him.

The Court ordered the Government to provide a sworn affidavit as to when they became aware of the investigation of Ms. Amsterdam and Mr. Jacobs in order to determine if and when Ms. Amsterdam and Mr. Jacobs even knew that they were targets of an investigation during the period they were Mr. Coleman's lawyers. The Government's affidavit indicates that the first that they, the Southern District Office of the U.S. Attorney knew of the Eastern District's Office's investigation was it suggests early January of 2003.

Counsel was ordered to produce Ms. Amsterdam and Mr. Jacobs.

  I have been in contact with the lawyers representing Ms. Amsterdam and Ms. Jacobs as to their attendance at the hearing. They have informed me and provided to me material that demonstrates that the earliest awareness either of them could have had that they were being investigated was November 20, 2003 by the Eastern District. The investigation focused on the two of them in mid-December 2003.

  By the time that they knew that they were being investigated, Mr. Coleman's case had been concluded. The docket sheets indicate that he was sentenced on this Court's matter in July of 2003. In some cases the acts of the lawyers that became the basis for the investigation had not happened or had not been brought to anyone's attention by the time that his case was finished.

  The hearing would be a waste of time and judicial resources. There is no proof and indeed the timing makes it impossible for any currying of favor to have taken place.

  I consulted with Mr. Coleman in the MCC on Wednesday evening and he agreed with counsel. I notified chambers of our intent as well as attempted to notify the government counsel. I spoke to lawyers for Ms. Amsterdam and Ms. Jacobs and told them of our disposition, indicating that there would be no benefit to Mr. Coleman to holding the hearing.

  In light of all that we had learned I foolishly took the liberty of scheduling a flight to Tucson, Arizona for Friday morning, believing that the matter would be resolved by the defendant's concession.

  The result means that this case should be sent from the District Court back to the Appeals court with a report that the issue of attorney conflict as to Mr. Coleman does not exist as regards their duty of loyalty and their obligation not to curry favor with the prosecution to benefit themselves.

  SO ORDERED.

20050908

© 1992-2005 VersusLaw Inc.



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