Why are the Feds  saying they want Paul removed?

  • Because it poses a potential conflict of interest.
  • Because it could be turned over on appeal.

What is the REAL reason?

The Fresno Bee published the follwing article, implying that the reason the Fed’s want Paul off this case, is becasue he is the heavy- hitter when it comes to defending criminally indicted law enforcement officials and other high profile clients.  “In short, getting Hodgkins and Goyette off the case improves the prosecution’s odds for victory,” says the Bee’s experts.

Read the Fresno Bee article here:


Fresno officers locked in legal battle

Prosecutors want attorneys off police force case.

Posted at 11:24 PM on Sunday, Jan. 02, 2011

By John Ellis / The Fresno Bee


tool goes here

 Federal prosecutors appear to be pulling out all the stops to break down a defensive wall put up by a Fresno police sergeant and three former officers who are facing continuing fallout from a violent 2005 confrontation.

In October — five years after the incident — a federal grand jury indicted Sgt. Michael Manfredi, 50, and former officers Christopher Coleman, 42, Paul Van Dalen, 44, and Sean Plymale, 41, on civil rights violations and obstruction of justice charges.

Now, prosecutors have filed paperwork to remove the attorneys representing Plymale and Coleman because they also represented Manfredi and Van Dalen in earlier proceedings on the matter.

The government, in essence, says that allowing the legal arrangement sets up a possible conflict of interest that could lead to troubles during a trial or could result in a verdict being overturned on appeal.

Already, the four were fired from the Fresno police force. Manfredi and Plymale later won back their jobs, though Plymale declined to return.

·          Crime and courts coverage


Well-versed attorneys

This new twist, experts said, is a legal maneuver by prosecutors who are trying to win convictions in a case that is strange and fraught with mine fields.

“I think the feds are being overly cautious — and rightly so,” said Fresno attorney Anthony Capozzi, who isn’t involved with the case.

For one, legal experts don’t recall a situation where two attorneys — Fresno lawyer E. Marshall Hodgkins and Sacramento attorney Paul Goyette — have experience representing every defendant in the matter, yet are only representing some of them at this point.

In addition, Hodgkins and Goyette are regarded as top-notch, have long track records of defending law enforcement officials in legal trouble, and are well versed in the specifics of this case.

Finally, the case involves police officers, who “are very successful at sticking together, as opposed to general defendants in criminal cases,” said John Sims, a constitutional law professor at the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

That makes it harder for prosecutors to turn one of the defendants against the others by offering a plea deal.

In short, experts said, getting Hodgkins and Goyette off the case improves the prosecution’s odds for victory.