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Veney v. United States - 738 A.2d 1185 (D.C. 1999)

Rule:

An attorney has an actual, as opposed to a potential, conflict of interest when, during the course of the representation, the attorney's and the defendant's interests diverge with respect to a material factual or legal issue or to a course of action. 

Facts:

Appellant challenged his convictions, asserting: (1) the performance of his trial attorney was adversely affected by an actual conflict of interest; and (2) the trial court committed error in imposing a consecutive sentence for escape. Appellant alleged that his attorney's prior representation of a client, who was a suspect in the shooting with which appellant was charged, was a conflict of interest. The court affirmed appellant's convictions, but remanded for resentencing. 

Issue:

Was appellant able to show that his counsel possessed a conflict of interest that actually affected counsel's performance?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

 The court held that there was no indication that appellant's counsel was ever in a position to use confidential information obtained from client in appellant's defense. Even if conflict of interest existed, the court held that appellant could not show that any alleged conflict adversely affected attorney's performance. As for consecutive sentence for escape, consecutive sentence was not mandatory because appellant was not under an original sentence at the time of his escape.

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