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Conflicts of interest and Habeas update

Jesse Brooks’ right to justice has been delayed again as he marks 10 years of incarceration as a result of ineffective counsel. Jesse was denied effective counsel when his trial attorneys allowed countless out-of-court statements, wealth bias throughout his trial and failed to object, leading to his wrongful conviction. After waiting for 1-1/2 years for a hearing, the State has now requested that the Habeas be dismissed. We will keep you updated.



American Bar Association Rule 1.7

A lawyer may represent a client even where there is a conflict of interest so long as the affected client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing.

Defense lawyers are duty-bound to report it to their client.

United States v.

Garcia, 517 F.2d 272 (5th Cir 1975)

Waiver of conflict must be on the record by clear and unequivocal language.

New Hampshire Rules of Professional Conduct

Rule 1.7 Conflicts of Interest.

b.4. each affected client gives informed consent,

confirmed in writing.

Trial attorneys allowed damaging hearsay statements in by State’s witness Michael Connorss who was working with prosecutors early on as part of his immunity agreement to avoid prosecution after Michael Benton went berserk fatally striking Jack Reid on Connors’ property in June 2005. Attorney Kevin Sharkey was engaged to represent Connors in August 2005. Despite a Conflict of Interest and Connors testimony to the grand jury that he wanted a “separation” of attorneys, Sharkey continued to communicate with Jesse’s trial attorneys throughout their years of representation of Jesse - sharing information and charging Jesse for it. Prosecutors were aware of conflicts as early as February 2007 and made a notation that it “probably shouldn’t be happening” and in 2008 they suggested that Jesse’s father’s attorney may have violated professional conduct rules because codefendants have competing interests at trial. New Hampshire Rules of Professional Conduct concerning Conflicts of Interest require clients give informed consent, confirmed in writing yet Jesse Brooks never signed a document authorizing his attorneys to collaborate with a witness for the State. Prosecutor Janice Rundles used Connors to emphasize wealth during Jesse’s trial laying out extraordinary details of the financial success of Jesse’s father. After Connors unsuccessfully tried to implicate Jesse, Jesse’s attorney only asked a few questions of him on cross examination in spite of a mountain of inconsistent statements by Connors. The State didn’t reveal any of these inconsistent statements either. Most stunning is the fact that Attorney Sharkey, who represents Michael Connors, is now representing Jesse’s trial attorneys for this Habeas petition. One of Jesse’s attorneys stated during his deposition that he wanted legal representation because he was concerned for his reputation.

“Mike Connors lied to Det. Houle?” “He did.”

Audio of Connors’ girlfriend to NH State Police.

Note: Connors received no charges in exchange for his testimony.


A closer look at just a few of the out of court statements that trial lawyers failed to object to brings to light another instance of serious Conflict of Interest by Jesse’s trial attorneys. State witness Dennis Chamberlain’s 3/30/07 statement from a threatening police interview was allowed in at trial by way of “Past Recollection Recorded” which later became the argument for Jesse’s appeal. In 2011, the New Hampshire Supreme Court unanimously upheld Jesse’s conviction. It should be noted that Jesse’s trial attorneys worked with the appellate attorney, which is a Conflict of Interest and Jesse should have been made aware of that.

(a) An attorney cannot ethically or effectively argue on appeal his or her own incompetence as trial counsel because of a conflict of interest and

(b) when the ineffective assistance issue is a substantive one directly attacking a judgment, the conflict is grave – and arguably insurmountable, thus not waivable.

Arguing one’s own incompetence places counsel in an untenable position, since counsel has an inevitable personal interest, adverse to the client, in the outcome. Counsel’s professional reputation will be impaired if the court finds ineffective assistance.

In addition to the conflict, Jesse’s trial attorneys did not reveal to the appellant attorney that Dennis Chamberlain’s 3/30/07 statements were coerced and made under threat when police claimed they had information that he and Jack Reid stole the Penske truck. (Click here to read Dennis Chamberlain page) They also failed to provide irrefutable documentary evidence, which they withheld at trial, that would have exonerated Jesse Brooks. Yes, by not bringing their errors forward and arming themselves with an attorney does preserve their reputation but Jesse Brooks pays the price with his life in a 15 - 30 year sentence for a wrongful conviction.

“You and Jack stole the trucks, then you in turn f**ked Reid.”

Note: Dennis Chamberlain received no charges in exchange for his testimony.

To prevail with an ineffective counsel claim requires the petitioner to demonstrate a reasonable probability that, but for the trial lawyer’s errors, the result of the trial would have been more favorable to the defendant. The facts will speak volumes if Jesse Brooks is granted his Habeas hearing.

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