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Racehorse in Conflict

Given how I feel about lawyers representing defendants with conflicts, I was a bit disturbed to read this piece (Lisa Falkenberg) about Richard “Racehorse” Haynes being accused of conflicted representation in a federal drug case. Richard’s client, Dong Huynh, sentenced to 22 years in prison, alleges that Richard had a conflict of interest because Dong had hired Walter A. Boyd, III to represent his cousin Duc. Duc began cooperating with the Government, implicating Dong, and pleaded guilty, then Richard and Walter formed a partnership. (See Dong’s initial pleading raising the issue of the conflict, with attachments (ZIP).) Duc testified against Dong at trial.

Dong claims never to have been advised of a dual representation conflict of interest, and alleges that Richard never told the court about a potential conflict, and further never used the Haynes & Boyd firm name in pleadings in Dong’s case. (Dong’s lawyers were able to find examples of other lawyers in Richard’s office using the partnership name during the same time period, but not, it seems, of Richard doing so.)

I’ve always known Richard Haynes to be righteous; I wouldn’t bet against him in this case. The situation does, however, illustrate the danger of undertaking to represent codefendants, even when no conflict is anticipated.


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