Skip to content
Name: Mickens v. Taylor
Case #: 00-9285
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 03/27/2002
Subsequent History: Cross-cites: 122 S.Ct. 1237; 152 L.Ed.2d 291

In order to demonstrate a Sixth Amendment violation where the trial court fails to inquire into a potential conflict of interest about which it knew or reasonably should have known, a defendant must show that a conflict of interest adversely affected his counsel’s performance. Defendant did not demonstrate that counsel’s brief representation of the victim at the time of his murder actually adversely affected his…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Martinez
Case #: B137144
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 07/18/2000
Subsequent History: Review granted 10/25/00 (S090836) and cause transferred to DCA 2, Div. 6, with directions to vacate its decision and reconsider in light of People v. Box (2000) 23 Cal.4th 1153, 1188, fn. 7

The trial court properly found no evidence of discrimination where the prosecution had nondiscriminatory reasons for excusing four Hispanic jurors. One of the jurors had family members who had been arrested, and several in prison; one juror had two prior convictions of his own; and the third juror's father had been arrested for spousal abuse, and he was also unwilling to sit on the jury for financial reasons. The fourth juror was a single mother of two who had "insufficient life experience" and claimed to have been recently hired at the store which was the victim of the…

View Full Summary
Name: Schell v. Witek
Case #: 97-56197
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/11/2000
Subsequent History: None

Where Schell's fingerprint inside a screen-protected window was the only evidence connecting him to the burglary, the evidence was sufficient to support Schell's burglary conviction. Here it was reasonable for the jury to have inferred that Schell left his fingerprint there during the commission of the burglary. Moreover, the evidence in the record was irreconcilable with the assertion that Schell might have innocently touched the inside of the window on some previous occasion. Schell did not knowingly and intelligently waive his motion for the appointment of new counsel under People v. Marsden (1970) 2 Cal.3d 118…

View Full Summary
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…

View Full Summary
Name: Lockhart v. Terhune
Case #: 99-16010
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 03/14/2001
Subsequent History: Amended on rehg. den. 3/27/01 at 250 F.3d 1223

Reversal was required where trial counsel had an actual conflict of interest. Lockhart's appointed counsel was also appointed to represent another man who was implicated in an earlier homicide. Prosecutors intended to introduce evidence in Lockhart's murder trial that he had committed the same earlier homicide. Lockhart filed a written waiver of the conflict. However, a criminal defendant's right to counsel includes the right to be represented by an attorney with undivided loyalty. Prejudice is presumed where there was an "actual conflict of interest," and a harmless error analysis does not apply. Here, there…

View Full Summary
Name: U.S. v. Christakis
Case #: 99-55298
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 01/30/2001
Subsequent History: None

A California attorney represented both Christakis, who had been indicted in a drug conspiracy, and DiCesare, who Christakis claimed was an unindicted co-conspirator. On appeal, Christakis claimed that the lawyer's advocacy was adversely affected by his interest in keeping DiCesare from being implicated. In particular, the attorney failed to advise Christakis to consider exchanging information concerning DiCesare for a reduced sentence. The appellate court here reversed and remanded for an evidentiary hearing. If the attorney represented both men simultaneously, he actively represented conflicting interests. It was unnecessary to show that appellant was prejudiced by the…

View Full Summary