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United States v. Head

May 9, 2007

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PLAINTIFF
v.
TIFFANY HEAD DEFENDANT



ORDER

Defense counsel in the above-styled cause has commendably filed a motion (DE# 49) to request the court to inquire into a possible conflict of interests that could arise from counsel's continued representation of this client, and his representation of a former client in an unrelated case.

At the hearing held on May 8, 2007 on the motion,*fn1 the Assistant United States Attorney averred that there is a "high likelihood" of overlapping of information between this case and the case in which defense counsel previously had a client.

It is the obligation of the trial court to avoid a serious potential for conflict as well as to resolve an existing one. The former instance is clearly present here. See Wheat v. U.S., 486 U.S. 153 (1988). Both prudence and discretion dictate that new counsel assume the representation of Ms. Head. Cf. U.S. v. Lanoue, 137 F.3d 656 (12t Cir. 1998). This jurist also concludes that the potential conflict sub judice, i.e., that counsel's former client might appear as a prosecution witness if the government pursues this case to trial, cannot be waived.

It is therefore ordered that Mr. Jerry Larkowski is relieved and discharged as counsel for Ms. Head in this case, with the thanks of the court. New counsel will be appointed immediately by separate order.

IT IS SO ORDERED this 9th day of ...


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