Ethan A. Balogh
Benjamin L. Coleman
Dejan Gantar

ethan balogh
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 30 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 Supreme Court of the United States and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and has obtained 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, FINRA, 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 our firm, 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.

ben coleman
A.B., Dartmouth College
J.D., New York University School of Law

Mr. Coleman has presented oral arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States, Ohler v. United States, 529 U.S. 753 (2000), two en banc panels of the Ninth Circuit, 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), approximately 75 three-judge panels of the Ninth Circuit, and other federal and state appellate courts throughout the country. He is also an experienced trial lawyer, having represented clients in more than 25 federal jury trials.

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. After relocating to California, Mr. Coleman first worked as an assistant federal defender in San Diego and then practiced in Los Angeles, where he represented a number of celebrities and professionals in highly publicized prosecutions.

Mr. Coleman’s appellate practice has generated dozens of published opinions in a wide range of areas, including honest services fraud, bribery, conspiracy, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, electronic surveillance, trial procedure, evidence, Sentencing Guidelines, restitution, and immigration offenses. Recent examples of his appellate successes include winning a reversal of his client’s conviction on habeas corpus review in one of the most highly publicized murder cases in San Diego history, Tuite v. Martel, 460 Fed. Appx. 701, 2011 WL 6042371 (9th Cir. 2011), cert. denied, 133 S. Ct. 102 (2012), obtaining reversals of convictions in three cases where his clients were sentenced to 20 or more years, 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), creating the framework for sentencing entrapment as a jury trial defense and garnering a rare victory on sentencing entrapment grounds, United States v. Williams, 478 Fed. Appx. 364, 2012 WL 1422897 (9th Cir. 2012), and securing sentencing reversals in three cases that resulted in reductions of five, eight, and ten years on remand. 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).

With respect to his trial practice, Mr. Coleman has won cases by way of acquittal and hung juries, and he has achieved favorable decisions 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 has been honored with the San Diego criminal defense bar’s award for excellence in appellate representation. He has also devoted part of his practice to death penalty cases, where he has represented clients at the trial, direct appeal, and habeas corpus stages.

Dejan Gantar
J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law
B.A., Florida State University

Dejan Gantar is an associate attorney at Coleman & Balogh. Prior to joining the firm, Dejan served as a trial attorney with the Santa Clara County Office of the Public Defender, where he represented individuals charged with criminal offenses in state court. As a trial attorney, he litigated numerous successful motions and conducted five jury trials, several of which resulted in not guilty verdicts.

Dejan is a magna cum laude graduate of UC Hastings, College of the Law, where he was inducted to the Thurston Honor Society and received several CALI/Witken awards for top grades in relevant course work, including Federal Criminal Law, Federal Courts and Trial Objections. While in law school, he interned with the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of California and the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.