Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Williams: Remanding for Evidentiary Hearing on Trial Counsel's Conflict of Interest

In United States v. Williams, No. 15-12130 (Sept. 4, 2018) (Jordan, Tjoflat, Huck), the Court remanded the case to the district court to make factual determinations about whether trial counsel's conflict of interest had an adverse effect on the defendant.

The Court determined that trial counsel was laboring under a conflict of interest because, in addition to representing the defendant, he also represented a witness who testified at trial for the government.  He represented that witness in the pending appeal of his criminal case, and trial counsel elected not to cross examine that witness at trial.  The Court also opined that the defendant made out a strong case that this conflict of interest had an adverse effect on him because cross examination was a viable option, and he may not have done so due to his loyalty to the witness.  The Court, however, remanded for an evidentiary hearing to flesh our more details about the conflict of interest and its impact on trial counsel.