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Name: U.S. v. Baker
Case #: 99-56718
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 04/05/2001
Subsequent History: None

Baker was represented on his federal appeal from a drug conviction by attorney Maloney. Unknown to Baker, Maloney had been convicted of a federal offense and been given a lesser sentence in return for his cooperation. The court held that Baker’s bare allegation of a conflict of interest based solely on Maloney’s cooperation and plea on unrelated charges in another federal district, by itself, was insufficient to show an actual conflict. There was no showing that Maloney chose to help himself, rather than his client, due to any conflicting personal interest. The only possible actual conflict was created when Maloney waived oral argument due to his incarceration. However, the one issue raised in the appeal (the validity of an initial stop) was without merit. Moreover, the appellate panel agreed to waive oral argument. Finally, counsel was not ineffective for failing to raise certain other arguments on appeal because they, too, would have lacked merit.