What ever happened to the Sullivan & Cromwell Attorneys who messed up in Maples v. Thomas?

January 7th, 2013

Following up on Adam Liptak’s engaging Sidebar piece on the errors of death-row attorneys, you all may be interested to know that the 2 attorneys who botched the appeal in Maples v. Thomas turned out just fine.

Clara Ingen-Housz is Special Counsel at Baker & McKenzie in Hong Kong.

Clara Ingen-Housz is based in Baker & McKenzie’s Hong Kong office. She advises multinational companies on emerging antitrust regimes in Asia, particularly China, and Asian companies on global competition issues. Ms. Ingen-Housz has more than a decade of experience acting as counsel, policy advisor and litigator for companies and regulators in the United States, Europe and Asia. She previously served in prominent law firms in New York and was a member of the Competition team of the European Commission’s Legal Service in Brussels where she handled several landmark cases. She regularly writes on developments in competition law in Asia and speaks at client seminars and public conferences.

Jaasi J. Munanka is at Hogan Lovells, a Partner in Denver.

Jaasi Munanka’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, international law, and internal investigations. He represents U.S. and foreign clients in actions involving significant financial exposure, ranging from federal and state False Claims Act litigation to Alien Tort Statute actions to general commercial matters, including securities, computer software, breach of contract, regulatory, and corporate governance.

Prior to joining Hogan & Hartson, Jaasi was an attorney advisor for the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review at the U.S. Department of Justice. He also served as a law clerk for The Honorable Sidney H. Stein of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. After law school graduation, Jaasi worked as an associate for a major U.S. law firm. In addition, Jaasi has previous work experience in the field of electrical engineering with a focus on semiconductor devices.

I wonder if a SCOTUS-bench-slap will be added to their firm profiles.

Some seven months later, in the summer of 2002, both Munanka and Ingen-Housz left Sullivan & Cromwell. App. to Pet. for Cert. 258a. Munanka gained a clerkship with a federal judge; Ingen-Housz accepted a position withthe European Commission in Belgium. Ibid. Neither attorney told Maples of their departure from Sullivan &Cromwell or of their resulting inability to continue to represent him. In disregard of Alabama law, see Ala. Rule Crim. Proc. 6.2, Comment, neither attorney sought the trial court’s leave to withdraw, App. to Pet. for Cert. 223a.Compounding Munanka’s and Ingen-Housz’s inaction, noother Sullivan & Cromwell lawyer entered an appearance on Maples’ behalf, moved to substitute counsel, or otherwise notified the court of any change in Maples’ representation. Ibid.

Or this bench-slap to SulCrom’s homepage.

The unclear state of the record is perhaps not surprising, given Sullivan & Cromwell’s representation of Maples after the default. As amici for Maples explain, a significant conflict of interest arose for the firm once the crucial deadline passed. Brief for Legal Ethics Professors et al. as Amici Curiae 23–27. Following the default, the firm’s interest in avoiding damage to its own reputation was at odds with Maples’ strongest argument — i.e., that his attorneys had abandoned him, therefore he had cause to be relieved from the default. Yet Sullivan & Cromwell did not cede Maples’ representation to a new attorney, who could have made Maples’ abandonment argument plain to the Court of Appeals. Instead, the firm represented Maples through briefing and oral argument in the Eleventh Circuit, where they attempted to cast responsibility for the mishap on the clerk of the Alabama trial court. Given Sullivan & Cromwell’s conflict of interest, Maples’ federal habeas petition, prepared and submitted by the firm, is not persuasive evidence that Maples, prior to the default, ever “viewed himself” as represented by “the firm,” see post, at 4, rather than by his attorneys of record, Munanka and Ingen-Housz.

As Justice Alito notes in concurring:

Unlike other States, Alabama relies on attorneys who volunteer torepresent these prisoners pro bono, and we are told that most of these volunteers work for large, out-of-state firms. Id., at 4. Petitioner’s brief states that the Alabama systemhad “a direct bearing on the events giving rise . . . to the procedural default at issue,” id., at 3, but a similar combination of untoward events could have occurred if petitioner had been represented by Alabama attorneys who wereappointed by the court and paid for with state funds. The firm whose lawyers represented petitioner pro bono is one of the country’s most prestigious and expensive, and I have little doubt that the vast majority of criminal defendants would think that they had won the lottery if theywere given the opportunity to be represented by attorneys from such a firm. See id., at 9 (stating that it “seemed asthough Maples had won the lottery when two attorneysworking at an elite New York law firm . . . agreed to represent Maples pro bono”).
What occurred here was not a predictable consequence of the Alabama system but a veritable perfect storm ofmisfortune, a most unlikely combination of events that,without notice, effectively deprived petitioner of legal representation. Under these unique circumstances, I agree that petitioner’s procedural default is overcome.