Krynski v. Connecticut Adult Probation Service
A habeas petitioner can prove that trial counsel's concurrent representation of another client resulted in an actual conflict of interest that adversely affected trial counsel's performance. The government charged the petitioner, Daniel Krynski, with manufacturing marijuana, with intent to sell. The petitioner also was arrested for helping Athikon Sukasame to obtain equipment that Sukasame allegedly used to cultivate marijuana. The petitioner's lawyer, Attorney Gerace, indicated that if the petitioner decided to hire Attorney Gerace, he would refer Sukasame to another attorney. Gerace subsequently discussed dual representation of both clients. The petitioner and Sukasame did not consent in writing. A judge indicated that she would sentence the petitioner to five years in prison, execution suspended, if the petitioner pled guilty. After the petitioner pled guilty, he discovered that federal law required his deportation to Poland. The petitioner filed a petition for habeas corpus, to vacate his guilty plea, because he has resided in the U.S. since he was 5 years old, and he has no significant ties to Poland. An actual conflict of interest existed, because Gerace agreed to represent both the petitioner and Sukasame, and Gerace did not obtain written consent. The court was not persuaded by any claim that they were not co-defendants, because they were arrested at different times, for allegedly cultivating marijuana in different locations, and they were prosecuted separately. The petitioner was charged with conspiring with Sukasame to grow marijuana. "Attorney Gerace," wrote the court, "was inhibited by his representation of Sukasame from characterizing him as the leader and the petitioner as the junior member." The court found that there was an actual conflict of interest and that the concurrent representation "adversely affected" Gerace's performance on behalf of the petitioner. The court vacated the petitioner's guilty plea.