United States District Court, D. Columbia.
WALDEMAR LORENZANA-LIMA, also known as VALDEMAR
LORENZANA-LIMA, Defendant: A. Eduardo Balarezo, LEAD
ATTORNEY, BALAREZO LAW, Washington, DC; Joaquin G. Perez,
LEAD ATTORNEY, Miami, FL; Ron Earnest, LEAD ATTORNEY, LAW
OFFICES OF RON EARNEST, Riverdale, MD.
ELIU ELIXANDER LORENZANA-CORDON, Defendant: A. Eduardo
Balarezo, LEAD ATTORNEY, BALAREZO LAW, Washington, DC; Barry
Coburn, LEAD ATTORNEY, COBURN & GREENBAUM, PLLC, Washington,
DC; Manuel J. Retureta, LEAD ATTORNEY, RETURETA & WASSEM,
P.L.L.C., Washington, DC.
WALDEMAR LORENZANA-CORDON, also known as VALDEMAR
LORENZANA-CORDON, Defendant: A. Eduardo Balarezo, LEAD
ATTORNEY, BALAREZO LAW, Washington, DC; Manuel J. Retureta,
LEAD ATTORNEY, RETURETA & WASSEM, P.L.L.C., Washington, DC;
Ron Earnest, LEAD ATTORNEY, LAW OFFICES OF RON EARNEST,
Riverdale, MD; Mark John Carroll, LAW OFFICES OF MARK J.
CARROLL, Potomac, MD.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Movant:
Maria-Claudia T. Amato, LEAD ATTORNEY, DC OFFICE OF THE
ATTORNEY GENERAL, Washington, DC.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff: Adrian Rosales, LEAD
ATTORNEY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Narcotic and Dangerous
Drug Section, Washington, DC; Amanda Nunn Liskamm, LEAD
ATTORNEY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, DC; Andrea
Goldbarg, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Criminal
Division, Washington, DC; Dennis N. Urbano, LEAD ATTORNEY,
Miami, FL; George Allen Dale, LEAD ATTORNEY, LAW OFFICE OF G.
ALLEN DALE, Washington, DC; Guadalupe Valencia, LEAD
ATTORNEY, LAW OFFICES OF GUADALUPE VALENCIA, San Diego, CA;
Michael Nicholas Lang, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
Criminal Division, Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section,
KOLLAR-KOTELLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
April 2, 2009, a federal grand jury returned an indictment
charging Defendant Eliu Elixander Lorenzana-Cordon ("
Defendant" ) with conspiracy to import over five
kilograms of cocaine into the United States in violation of
21 U.S.C. § 959, 960, and 963. The indictment also
carries a criminal forfeiture allegation pursuant to 21
U.S.C. § § 853 and 970. Defendant remained a
fugitive for approximately two-and-a-half years in Guatemala
and was arrested on this indictment in Guatemala on November
8, 2011. After fighting extradition for approximately
three-and-a-half years, Defendant was extradited to
Washington, D.C. on April 30, 2015, and made an initial
appearance before Magistrate Judge Alan Kay on May 1, 2015.
has been represented by Manuel J. Retureta for the past five
years. On May 11, 2015, the Government filed a Motion for the
Court to conduct an inquiry into a potential conflict related
to Mr. Retureta's simultaneous representation of
Defendant and a cooperating witness in an unrelated case who
is expected to testify against Defendant. The parties
submitted briefing about this potential conflict and the
Court held hearings inquiring into the conflict on June 4,
2015, July 13, 2015, and August 4, 2015. The Court now issues
this Memorandum Opinion setting forth the Court's
findings and rulings as to the conflicted representation. The
Court incorporates and makes a part of this opinion its
detailed oral findings on the record issued during the August
4, 2015, hearing.
Retureta has represented Defendant for more than five years
with regards to the instant case. Def.'s Pos., at 1. Mr.
Retureta filed a Notice of Appearance in this matter on March
4, 2010. See ECF No. . Mr. Retureta has also
represented an individual for more than four years who is a
cooperating witness (" the witness" ) for the
Government against Defendant. Def.'s Pos., at 2. The
witness' case is unrelated to Defendant's case,
however, the Government has debriefed the witness regarding
information that he/she might have relating to Defendant and
his co-defendants. Id. As the Government was aware
of Mr. Retureta's simultaneous representation of
Defendant and the witness, the Government forewarned Mr.
Retureta " during debriefing prior to its agents making
inquiries of [the witness] regarding [Defendant] and his
co-defendants, so that [Mr. Retureta] could leave
the room." Id. Consequently, Mr. Retureta was
not present for any debriefings of the witness related to
Defendant. Id. The Government has indicated that it
expects to call the witness as a witness in Defendant's
case. Def.'s Pos., at 2; Gov't Supp. Br., at 1.
11, 2015, the Government filed a motion requesting a hearing
for the Court to determine whether a conflict of interest
exists with Mr. Retureta's simultaneous representation of
Defendant and the witness and whether it may be waived.
Defendant filed an opposition.
Retureta has proposed an arrangement whereby he would remain
counsel for Defendant and a second, independent counsel would
be secured for Defendant to prepare and conduct
cross-examination of the witness. Mr. Retureta further
proposes that additional counsel would be secured to
represent the witness at his/her sentencing to the extent the
witness' testimony against Defendant is relevant to the
4, 2015, the Court conducted its first inquiry into the
potential conflict during a status hearing in this matter.
Mr. Retureta represented to the Court during that hearing
that he would discuss the potential conflict with the
cooperating witness whom he is representing and promptly
inform the Court of whether the cooperating witness decided
to continue with Mr. Retureta as his attorney. See
Order (June 5, 2015), ECF No. , at 3. The Court
indicated it would then consider whether to appoint
independent counsel to speak with Defendant about the
potential conflict. Id.
10, 2015, Mr. Retureta filed a notice with the Court
conceding that his simultaneous representation of Defendant
and the witness presented a conflict of interest, but
indicating that Defendant " ha[d] informed undersigned
counsel that he wishes to waive the conflict, and, pursuant
to his rights under the Sixth Amendment, desires to retain
undersigned counsel as his defense counsel." Def.'s
Pos. at 1. Mr. Retureta further represented that " he is
confident that his performance, on behalf of [Defendant] and
the other individual recently announced as a government
witness, shall not be adversely affected by his simultaneous
representation of them" and proposed that second counsel
prepare for and conduct cross-examination of the witness and
an additional counsel represent the witness at the
witness' sentencing. Id. at 3-4. As to the
witness, Mr. Retureta informed the Court that the
simultaneous representation would be discussed with the
witness during an upcoming status hearing in the witness'
unrelated case before Judge John D. Bates. Id. at 4.
Finally, Mr. Retureta requested that the Court appoint
independent counsel to consult with Defendant on the matter
of the simultaneous representation and his waiver of the
resulting conflict. Id.
Government filed a response on June 24, 2015, opposing the
simultaneous representation of Defendant and the witness and
the proposed second counsel arrangement. On July 6, 2015, the
Court appointed Barry Coburn of Coburn & Greenbaum PLLC to
represent Defendant " for the limited purpose of
advising [Defendant] in connection with Mr. Retureta's
potential conflict with representing [Defendant] at the same
time as representing a potential witness who would testify
against [Defendant] at trial." Order (July 6, 2015), ECF
No. , at 1.
13, 2015, the Court held a second hearing to inquire into the
conflicted representation. Mr. Retureta, Mr. Coburn, and
counsel for the ...