United States District Court, E.D. California
HEATHER E. WILLIAMS, SBN #122664 Federal Defender CHARLES J.
LEE, SBN # 221057 Assistant Federal Defender Branch Chief,
Office of the Federal Defender
RENEWED REQUEST BY THE OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL DEFENDER
IN THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA TO BE REMOVED AS
COUNSEL; DECLARATION; PROPOSED ORDER
LAWRENCE J. O'NEILL UNITED STATES CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE
Charles J. Lee, as Branch Chief for Office of the Federal
Defender in the Eastern District of California, Fresno, renew
the request by our office to be relieved as counsel in the
above captioned matter. As set forth in the attached
declaration, pursuant to Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure,
Rule 11(e), Mr. Graves wishes to challenge his guilty plea
entered January 22, 2018. Because one of the primary basis
for effectively challenging a guilty plea is to establish
that the plea was not entered into knowingly and voluntarily,
and because our office counseled Mr. Graves prior to his
decision to enter his guilty plea and represented him at his
change of plea hearing, our office has an inherent conflict
in representing him on his direct appeal, and can no longer
communicate with him lest we be seen as in any way trying to
influence his decision to appeal. Mr. Graves is entitled to
conflict-free counsel that can advise him on the viability of
his appeal, which necessarily requires counsel to review the
representation that Mr. Graves received prior to and during
his change of plea. Because our office was counsel of record,
we cannot effectively advise Mr. Graves regarding our
representation. Accordingly, our office respectfully requests
to be relieved as counsel, and conflict-free panel counsel be
appointed. The request is supported by the attached
Charles J. Lee, declare as follows:
1. I am
the Fresno Office Branch Chief of the Federal Defenders for
the Eastern District of California.
Office of the Federal Defender was appointed to represent Mr.
Arthur J. Graves on January 19, 2018, in the Eastern District
of California case 1:18-cr-0024-LJO.
Assistant Federal Defender Andrew Wong was assigned to
represent Mr. Graves. Mr. Wong met with Mr. Graves prior to
his court appearance on January 22, 2018.
January 22, 2018, Mr. Wong represented Mr. Graves at his
court hearing where Mr. Graves entered a guilty plea to the
citation at issue.
the conclusion of his hearing on January 22, 2018, Mr. Wong
informed me that Mr. Graves indicated that he wanted to
appeal his sentence.
Several days later, Mr. Wong informed me he had contacted Mr.
Graves and Mr. Graves reiterated his desire to appeal.
few days later, Mr. Wong informed me he had a follow up
conversation with Mr. Graves to confirm that it was his
intent to appeal his sentence only. Mr. Graves indicated that
he wanted to challenge his guilty plea as well.
Following that conversation with Mr. Graves, Mr. Wong
informed me of Mr. Graves' intent to challenge the entry
of his guilty plea. I informed Mr. Wong that we could no
longer continue to represent Mr. Graves as Mr. Graves would
need to be able to explore the possibility of withdrawing his
plea on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel, which
meant we could no longer advise him and should not have any
further communication with him. I instructed Mr. Wong to
simultaneously file the requested notice of appeal as well as
a motion to withdraw as counsel, and instructed our office to
identify available panel who would be able to seamlessly take
over the case going forward.
Prior to Mr. Wong filing the motion to withdraw, our office
contacted CJA panel counsel Karen L. Lynch and confirmed that
she would be able to accept appointment in this matter.
February1, 2018, Mr. Wong filed a motion to withdraw as
counsel and requested the appointment of Karen L. Lynch as
counsel. On February 7, 2018, this ...