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United States v. Vega

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

September 23, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
DONATO VALLE VEGA, Defendant.

          FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

          Ronald B. Leighton United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER having come before this Court on March 8, 2018, and the Court having heard the testimony of the witnesses presented by the parties, having reviewed the exhibits, briefing and record, and having heard argument of counsel

         NOW, THEREFORE, the Court makes the following

         I. FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. The Petitioner has had five attorneys to Dated: Colin Fieman, from September 23, 2010 to July 14, 2011; Roger Hunko, from July 14, 2011, to April 19, 2012; Bob Leen, from April 4, 2012 to March 1, 2013; Brooks Holland, March 2013 to December 24, 2015; Tim Lohraff to present. Dkt (CR10-5629)

         A. Attorney Robert Leen's education and experience

         2. Robert Leen received his J.D. from the University of Georgia in 1973. Habeas Tr. at 84.

         3. Mr. Leen work as an assistant state attorney for the 11th Judicial Circuit in Miami, Dade County, Florida from 1974 to 1976. Habeas Tr. at 84.

         4. Since that time, Mr. Leen has been in private practice in Broward County, Florida and the Western District of Washington. Habeas Tr. at 84.

         5. From 1976 to 1986, Mr. Leen handled state criminal defense and some divorce work and a smattering of other types of cases. Habeas Tr. at 84.

         6. From 1986 to the early 1990s, Mr. Leen handled state criminal defense in the State of Washington. Habeas Tr. at 84.

         7. From the early 1990s until 2015, Mr. Leen did mostly federal criminal defense. Habeas Tr. at 84.

         8. At the time Mr. Leen accepted Mr. Valle's case, Mr. Leen had been an attorney for about 30 years and had defended cases in federal court for about 20 years. Habeas Tr. at 85.

         B. Mr. Leen's work on Petitioner's case.

         9. Mr. Leen took the case over from Attorney Roger Hunko in April 2012 when Mr. Hunko withdrew. Habeas Tr. at 85-86.

         10. Mr. Leen's practice when getting every new case, was to review the docket on-line, and to review and print a copy of the indictment, the complaints, and any motions. Habeas Tr. at 86.

         11. Mr. Leen would review the discovery and then go to visit the defendant at the Federal Detention Center. Habeas Tr. at 86.

         12. Mr. Leen received a set of discovery from both Mr. Hunko and the U.S. Attorney's Office. Habeas Tr. at 87.

         13. Mr. Leen recalled receiving voluminous discovery from the government. Habeas Tr. at 87.

         14. The government had already provided Mr. Hunko access to the Petitioner's FBI CHS file around November 2011, so copies of documents from FBI CHS file were included in the packet that Mr. Leen received. Habeas Tr. at 88; Government's Exhibit 2, Habeas Hearing.

         15. Mr. Leen also looked at the Petitioner's FBI CHS file and he marked the pages that he wanted copies of in the file. Habeas Tr. at 89.

         16. The government provided those copies to Mr. Leen. Habeas Tr. at 89.

         17. Mr. Leen did not independently recall the discovery conference in the case but he remembered that it was the practice of the Tacoma Branch U.S. Attorney's Office to have discovery conferences at the Tacoma DEA. Habeas Tr. at 90.

         18. Mr. Leen visited Petitioner on a regular basis; he usually visited his clients at once every week to ten days. Habeas Tr. at 91.

         19. Mr. Leen filed motions to suppress Petitioner's statement to law enforcement agents and to suppress the large amount of drugs seized from the defendant. Habeas Tr. at 91.

         C. Petitioner's Issue One

         20. Mr. Leen reviewed the Petitioner FBI CHS informant file and made copies of whatever he felt was pertinent to Petitioner's public authority defense. Habeas Tr. at 92-93.

         21. Mr. Leen discussed the public authority defense and duress with Petitioner. Habeas Tr. at 93.

         22. Petitioner grew more upset as the case got closer to trial. Habeas Tr. at 92.

         23. Mr. Leen filed a motion to withdraw. Habeas Tr. at 92.

         24. The Court held a hearing and found that the attorney-client relationship was not irretrievably broken and denied the motion. Habeas Tr. at 92.

         D. Petitioner's Issues 2-3

         25. Mr. Leen offered in evidence at trial defense exhibit 101, which contains Petitioner's FBI CHS admonishments. Habeas Tr. at 94; Defendant's trial exhibit 101.

         26. Mr. Leen cross examined the case agent about this form at trial to try to establish Petitioner's public authority defense. Habeas Tr. at 94.

         27. Mr. Leen also offered in evidence defense trial exhibit 103, which was an FBI internal request for authorization to allow Petitioner to attend cock fights if invited. Habeas Tr. at 96; Defendant's trial exhibit 103.

         28. The case agent did not tell Petitioner that he had requested permission to allow Petitioner to attend cock fights and Petitioner did not attend any cock fights as an informant for the FBI.

         29. Mr. Leen asked a federally certified interpreter, Glenna White, to translate the Petitioner's statement, which Petitioner had given in Spanish. Habeas Tr. at 97.

         30. The government agreed to using the Petitioner's translation instead of the government's translation. Habeas Tr. at 97.

         31. Mr. Leen moved to suppress this statement. Habeas Tr. at 98.

         32. Mr. Leen cross examined the agents about the circumstances of how the statement was obtained. Habeas Tr. at 98.

         E. Petitioner's Issue Four

         33. Mr. Leen learned about the pole camera and tracker from discovery from the government. Habeas Tr. at 98.

         34. Mr. Leen typically asked if the government intended to offer film from the pole camera which Mr. Leen knew would take tens or dozens of hours to review. Habeas Tr. at 98.

         35. Since the government was not offering the pole camera film at trial, Mr. Leen did not pursue anything further with respect to the pole camera evidence. Habeas Tr. at 98.

         36. Mr. Leen was aware of the tracking device and did not feel it was necessary to file motions regarding the tracking device. Habeas Tr. at 99.

         37. Mr. Leen was aware that at the time 9th Circuit law allowed police to place trackers on a car without a court order. Habeas Tr. at 99.

         38. Mr. Leen recalled subpoenaing Officer Danny Valadez from Arizona to testify. Habeas Tr. at 99.

         39. The government agreed to produce Officer Valadez for the Petitioner to call him as a witness. Habeas Tr. at 99.

         40. Mr. Leen questioned Officer Valadez about the tracker warrant and offered the tracker (search) warrant in evidence. Defendant's exhibits 168A & B.

         F. Petitioner's Issue Five

         41. Mr. Leen cross examined Special Agent Britton Boyd about Petitioner parole visa and his travel to Mexico because this was a benefit that Petitioner received as an informant. Habeas Tr. at 100.

         42. Mr. Leen included on his exhibit list confidential human source reporting documents 108-141, FBI 302s 142-147, DEA 6s 154-159, and ATF reports 162-163, and Phoenix PD surveillance reports 162 and 163. Habeas Tr. at 101. Dkt 129 (Defense Exhibit List).

         43. Mr. Leen made copies of the police reports and marked them as defense exhibits for two reasons: as they might be relevant at trial and Mr. Leen wanted to ...


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