Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Campbell: Atlanta mayor not entitled to representation by convicted accomplice's counsel

In Campbell v. U.S., No. 06-13548 (July 13, 2007), the Court affirmed the conviction and 30-month sentence of a former mayor of Atlanta, Ga., convicted of tax fraud (though acquitted of all RICO and bribery charges).
The Court rejected the argument that, in violation of his right to counsel, Campbell was deprived of counsel of his choice when the trial court ruled that he could not be represented by a law partner of the lawyer who represented one of Campbell’s accomplices against criminal charges arising from the same corruption scheme. The Court noted that this accomplice refused to waive the attorney-client privilege. By disqualifying Campbell’s counsel of choice – to whom conflict was imputed by reason of his relationship to his law partner – the trial court legitimately preserved the fairness of the trial.
The Court also rejected Campbell’s challenge to his sentence, expressing surprise that Campbell believed he had been sentenced harshly when in reality the sentence reflected the district court’s decision, of "considerable leniency and restraint," to run concurrently sentences for separate counts of conviction. The Count found no undue reliance on acquitted conduct, pointing out that the sentence was within the limit authorized by the jury’s verdict. The Court also upheld the enhancement for using "sophisticated means," pointing out that Campbell hid his illegal moneys through use of "fictitious entities, corporate shells, or offshore financial accounts."
The Court also rejected a challenge to an obstruction of justice enhancement, finding no basis to overturn the district court’s credibility finding on this point.
Finally, the Court rejected Campbell’s "unreasonableness" challenge to his sentence. The Court pointed out that the 30-month sentence was far less than the statutory maximum for the sentence for which he was convicted, and even less close to the maximum for the statutes with which he was charged but acquitted. Therefore the sentence was not unreasonable, and did not reflect punishment for the acquitted counts.