Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re People

Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc

June 16, 2014

In Re: the People of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff:
v.
Alan DeAtley, Defendant:

Original Proceeding Pursuant to C.A.R. 21. District Court, City and County of Denver, Case No. 10CR10309. Honorable John W. Madden, IV, Judge.

SYLLABUS

The supreme court holds that the trial court unreasonably and unfairly determined that the attorneys in this case could effectively represent the defendant, despite his discharge of them and the trial court's previous finding that a conflict of interest existed between defense counsel and the defendant due to the defendant's filing of a malpractice and breach of contract lawsuit against defense counsel. After concluding that DeAtley was engaging in trial-delaying conduct, the trial court chose the wrong remedy and thereby abused its discretion. The trial court's finding that the attorneys could balance their personal interests implicated by the defendant's actions with their obligation to represent him was arbitrary, unreasonable, and unfair given the trial court's first finding that a conflict existed. It should have granted the motion to withdraw and proceeded in accordance with Crim P. 44(a), advising the defendant that he had the obligation to hire other counsel, request the appointment of counsel by the court, or elect to represent himself. In view of the defendant's delay-causing conduct, the trial court should have given him an Arguello advisement, explaining the consequences of engaging in trial-delaying conduct, which can result in an implied waiver of the right to counsel, and explaining the risks of proceeding without counsel. The supreme court reverses the trial court's denial of the motion to withdraw and makes the rule absolute.

For Plaintiff: Robert J. Whitley, Chief Appellate Deputy District Attorney, Mitchell R. Morrissey, District Attorney, Denver, Colorado.

For Defendant: Martin Stuart, Jolie Masterson, Portman Stuart, LLC, Denver, Colorado.

JUSTICE HOBBS delivered the Opinion of the Court. JUSTICE COATS concurs in part and dissents in part, and JUSTICE EID joins in the concurrence in part and the dissent in part.

OPINION

Page 62

Rule Made Absolute

HOBBS, JUSTICE.

COATS, JUSTICE concurs in part and dissents in part, and EID, JUSTICE joins in the concurrence in part and the dissent in part.

[¶1] Pursuant to C.A.R. 21, we issued our rule to show cause in this case to determine whether the trial court erred in requiring retained attorneys to represent a defendant at trial, despite defendant's expressed desire to discharge them and his lawsuit against them that created an irreconcilable conflict of interest.

[¶2] In October 2010, the prosecution charged Alan DeAtley, a Washington State

Page 63

resident, with twenty-five counts of white-collar criminal activity involving alleged fraudulent tax credits for land conservation easements in Colorado. In July 2011, the trial court allowed DeAtley's first retained counsel to withdraw based on irreconcilable conflicts. It granted DeAtley a continuance to retain his current defense counsel, Martin Stuart and Jolie Masterson (" defense counsel" ). In November 2012, DeAtley informed the court of his intention to discharge defense counsel. They promptly filed a motion to withdraw.

[¶3] In November 2012, instead of granting the motion to withdraw, the trial court granted DeAtley a relatively short continuance to retain yet a third defense attorney. DeAtley did not retain another attorney. Instead, he commenced a lawsuit against defense counsel for malpractice and breach of contract, reinforcing the discharge of them and causing defense counsel to renew the motion to withdraw. The trial court unreasonably and unfairly determined that the attorneys in this case could effectively represent DeAtley despite his discharge of them and the trial court's previous finding that a conflict of interest existed between defense counsel and DeAtley due to the malpractice and breach of contract lawsuit.[1] After concluding that DeAtley was engaging in trial-delaying conduct, the trial court chose the wrong remedy and thereby abused its discretion. The trial court's finding that defense counsel could " balance their personal interests implicated by the Defendant's actions with their obligation to represent him such that they can effectively do so" was arbitrary, unreasonable, and unfair given the trial court's first finding that a conflict existed. It should have granted the motion to withdraw and proceeded in accordance with Crim. P. 44(a), advising DeAtley that he had the obligation to hire other counsel, request the appointment of counsel by the court, or elect to represent himself. In view of DeAtley's delay-causing conduct, the trial court should have given him an Arguello advisement, explaining the consequences of engaging in trial-delaying conduct, which can result in an implied waiver of the right to counsel, and explaining the risks of proceeding without counsel. See People v. Arguello, 772 P.2d 87, 92-94 (Colo. 1989).

[¶4] Accordingly, we reverse the trial court's denial of the motion to withdraw and make our rule absolute.

I.

[¶5] In October 2010, the prosecution charged DeAtley with twenty-five counts of white-collar criminal activity. DeAtley retained David Kaplan as his attorney. Kaplan filed a motion to withdraw in June 2011 on the basis that irreconcilable conflicts existed between him and DeAtley and that DeAtley lacked the funds necessary to pay for representation. The trial court granted Kaplan's motion to withdraw in July 2011 and granted DeAtley's motion for a continuance to allow him time to either retain new counsel or apply for representation by the public defender.

[¶6] In August 2011, DeAtley retained defense counsel, who proceeded to represent him. On November 13, 2012, the trial court received a letter from DeAtley asking that the court permit defense counsel to withdraw. DeAtley stated that he was going to discharge defense counsel and seek new representation. On November 15, 2012, defense counsel filed a motion to withdraw under Colo. RPC 1.16(a)(1) and 1.16(a)(3) based on DeAtley's stated intent to discharge them.

[¶7] On December 3, 2012, the trial court held both a public and an ex parte hearing to examine whether defense counsel would be permitted to withdraw. The trial court conducted the ex parte hearing so that defense counsel could present evidence supporting the withdrawal based on confidential and privileged information. On January 16, 2013, the trial court entered an order denying the motion to withdraw unless DeAtley retained new counsel. The trial court granted a continuance of the trial until May 2013 and stated that it ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.