Ethan A. Balogh
Benjamin L. Coleman
Jay A. Nelson
A.B., Harvard College
J.D., Yale Law School
The New York Times reported that “Mr. Balogh is known for his eloquent oral arguments.” The New York Daily News described him as an “ever-resourceful attorney” when reporting on his trial examinations. American Lawyer Magazine recognized him as a “top-flight criminal attorney” while the San Francisco Bay Guardian identified him as a “top-rate criminal defense lawyer.” Mr. Balogh’s successful pursuit of criminal justice earned him an honorable mention in the California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year Awards for 2003, as well as a Certificate of Honor from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. And San Francisco Magazine named him a “Northern California Super Lawyer.”
This praise comes from a career filled with successes in difficult cases. Mr. Balogh has tried more than 25 criminal and civil cases, and has won acquittals and civil judgments for clients throughout California and beyond. He also has met with success before trial, securing dismissals and summary dispositions in a host of matters, and persuading government authorities that no charges should be filed. Mr. Balogh’s victories also extend to the post-trial setting, and he has obtained reversals of criminal cases from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and has successfully petitioned for the release of his clients in both federal and state habeas corpus proceedings. Mr. Balogh’s record of achievement comes over a wide variety of matters, and he has represented clients in cases alleging federal criminal fraud, tax, perjury, theft, weapons, and securities violations, as well as state court actions involving fraud, theft, assault, mayhem, and murder allegations.
Mr. Balogh is an experienced civil lawyer as well. He has successfully represented clients in matters brought by the SEC and the NASD, has defended attorneys in professional liability actions, and has enforced his clients’ civil rights, as well as conducted private arbitrations in discrete matters.
Mr. Balogh graduated with honors from Harvard College and from the Yale Law School. Upon his law school graduation, he was presented with the C. Larue Munson award for his outstanding trial practice as part of the school’s Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization. Following law school, he served for one year as a deputy in the San Diego Office of the Public Defender, before clerking for the Honorable Marilyn L. Huff, United States District Judge. From his clerkship, he joined the Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc. as a Trial Attorney.
Prior to co-founding Coleman & Balogh, Mr. Balogh was a partner in the esteemed law firm of Keker & Van Nest. When American Lawyer Magazine profiled the firm, it identified Mr. Balogh as a “star” of the firm’s white-collar criminal practice. During his eight-year tenure there, Mr. Balogh handled complex and high-profile matters, and includes among his achievements his work on the celebrated habeas corpus proceedings establishing the innocence of John J. Tennison, the disqualification of the San Francisco City Attorney and his entire staff from prosecuting a fraud matter, City and County of San Francisco v. Cobra Solutions, Inc., 38 Cal.4th 839 (2006), and a string of four district court victories in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas arising from illegal searches of a non-suspect testing lab and test administrator. See United States v. Comprehensive Drug Testing, Inc., 579 F.3d 989 (9th Cir. 2009) (en banc) (As counsel on appeal, we recently obtained a 9-2 affirmance of those district court victories before an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit.)
In addition to his law practice, Mr. Balogh serves the cause of criminal justice by sitting on the Board of Directors of the First District Appellate Project.
A.B., Dartmouth College
J.D., New York University School of Law
Mr. Coleman has tried approximately 25 federal jury trials and has argued before the Supreme Court of the United States, see Ohler v. United States, 529 U.S. 753 (2000), two en banc panels of the Ninth Circuit, see United States v. Buckland, 289 F.3d 558 (9th Cir. 2002) (en banc); United States v. Lombera-Camorlinga, 206 F.3d 882 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc), and approximately 75 three-judge panels of the Ninth Circuit.
Mr. Coleman attended Dartmouth College and New York University School of Law, where he graduated magna cum laude and Order of the Coif. After law school, he clerked for the Honorable Joseph W. Hatchett, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and, upon completing his clerkship, became a litigation associate with Shearman & Sterling in New York. Mr. Coleman then moved to California, where he first worked as an assistant federal defender in San Diego and then for a boutique criminal defense firm in Los Angeles, where he represented a number of celebrities and professionals in highly publicized prosecutions.
In addition to obtaining favorable decisions at trial by way of acquittal and hung juries, Mr. Coleman has won cases as a result of his creative motion practice. He has convinced judges to dismiss charges, see, e.g., In re Extradition of Platko, 213 F. Supp. 2d 1229 (S.D. Cal. 2002), suppress evidence, see, e.g., United States v. Lopez-Soto, 205 F.3d 1101 (9th Cir. 2000); United States v. Gantt, 194 F.3d 987 (9th Cir. 1999), and throw out convictions for insufficient evidence. See United States v. Orduno-Aguilera, 183 F.3d 1138 (9th Cir. 1999). In one case in which Mr. Coleman had served as trial counsel, the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit noted that he “did a marvelous job,” fighting like a “tiger” for his client and “preserving a splendid record for appeal.” United States v. Ramirez-Lopez, 315 F.3d 1143, 1163 n.2 (9th Cir. 2003). Ultimately, the charges in that case were also dismissed. See United States v. Ramirez-Lopez, 327 F.3d 829 (9th Cir. 2003).
Mr. Coleman is highly regarded for his success before appellate courts, particularly the Ninth Circuit. He recently won a reversal in the Ninth Circuit in one of the most highly publicized murder cases in San Diego history. See Tuite v. Martel, No. 09-56267, 2011 WL 6042371 (9th Cir. Dec. 6, 2011). Within the last five years, he has obtained complete reversals of convictions in three cases where his clients were sentenced to 20 or more years. See United States v. Williams, 547 F.3d 1187 (9th Cir. 2008); United States v. Forrester, 512 F.3d 500 (9th Cir. 2008); United States v. Bear, 439 F.3d 565 (9th Cir. 2006). During this same period, Mr. Coleman has obtained sentencing reversals in three cases where he secured reductions of five, eight, and 10 years on remand. See, e.g., United States v. Forrester, 616 F.3d 929 (9th Cir. 2010); United States v. Gomez-Mendez, 486 F.3d 599 (9th Cir. 2007); United States v. Gomez-Mendez II, 320 Fed. Appx. 523, 2009 WL 728399 (9th Cir. 2009); United States v. Lo, 447 F.3d 1212 (9th Cir. 2006).
Mr. Coleman’s work has generated dozens of published opinions in a wide range of areas related to criminal law, including honest services fraud, bribery, conspiracy, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, electronic surveillance, trial procedure, evidence, Sentencing Guidelines, restitution, and immigration offenses. He has been honored with the San Diego criminal defense bar’s award for excellence in appellate representation. He has also taught federal criminal law and procedure and has lectured on a variety of criminal law topics, including trial and appellate advocacy, at law schools and attorney seminars.
A.B., Wesleyan University
J.D., Hastings College of the Law
Mr. Nelson joined Coleman & Balogh in 2009, after serving as a law clerk for the Honorable D. Lowell Jensen, United States District Judge. In Judge Jensen’s chambers, Mr. Nelson worked primarily on criminal matters, including pretrial motions, trials, sentencings, and post-judgment proceedings. Mr. Nelson gained additional federal experience as an extern in the chambers of United States District Judge Maxine M. Chesney, where he handled a variety of criminal and civil matters. Mr. Nelson cultivated his passion for criminal defense during summer internships at two public defenders’ offices: first at the Marin County Public Defender, and most recently at the Federal Public Defender’s Office in San Francisco.
Mr. Nelson graduated magna cum laude from University of California’s Hastings College of the Law in 2008, where he served on the Hastings Law Journal and was inducted into the Thurston Honor Society. During law school, Mr. Nelson earned Witkin Awards for academic excellence in courses relevant to criminal defense, including Trial Advocacy, Capital Punishment, and Law, Psychiatry & Mental Health Systems. He also earned awards for Best Brief and Best Oral Argument runner-up in his criminal law Moot Court class.
Mr. Nelson’s commitment to criminal justice has extended to pro bono representations in police abuse cases. In 2009, he achieved a rare victory before the Oakland Citizens’ Police Review Board in a case in which two Oakland police officers wrongly arrested and detained his client for three days despite overwhelming evidence of his client’s innocence. The Board recommended disciplinary action and retraining for the officers involved, a move undertaken in fewer than 5% of all CPRB cases. As a law student, Mr. Nelson founded Hastings Prisoner Outreach, which at the time was the only student organization at U.C. Hastings devoted to criminal justice. Mr. Nelson’s student note, Facing up to Wrongful Convictions: Broadly Defining “New” Evidence at the Actual Innocence Gateway, 59 Hastings L.J. 711, has been cited in a judicial opinion, practice guide, and scholarly publication.
B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara
J.D., University of San Diego School of Law
Mr. Landman joined Coleman & Balogh in 2013, and focuses his efforts on defending federal criminal cases and prosecuting appeals to the Ninth Circuit. He previously interned in the Special Litigation Division of the San Diego City Attorney’s Office. While there, Mr. Landman focused on legal research and writing, and also assisted in the defense of a federal jury trial in the Southern District. Mr. Landman developed his interest in criminal defense while interning at The California Innocence Project in San Diego.
Mr. Landman graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara in 2007, where he majored in philosophy with an emphasis in public policy and ethics. He then graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2012.