Q: Is there a perceived or actual conflict of interest resulting from a former prosecutor turned legal defender?
Recently a case was assigned to a public defender (former prosecutor) to defend a man whos father had been prosecuted successfully by the same attorney many years prior. The son's case is not of the same charges as his father's prior case, however, the attorney remains in the same jurisdiction, practicing criminal law, albeit the other side now. Would the son have a perceived or actual conflict of interest right to request a new defender? Should not a conflict check have discovered this prior relation? Regardless of whether there is an assurance of competency, if the client questions the attorney's motives or former loyalties - due to the successful prosecution of his father, would due process allow a for a recusal and request for new defense?
A: This is a wonderful academic question.
If your son feels the attorney is in conflict, then he should voice it to the judge.
If no action is taken, then he can send a request to the judge.
If an attorney here said there is nothing wrong, would you just drop the subject?
Mike Branum agrees with this answer
A: If he SUCCESSFULLY prosecuted the father, he sounds like he's qualified. If there isn't another reason to all for another attorney, you may want to leave or alone. You have to be careful what you wish for. Your "new" attorney might be less to your liking than the one who or the father in jail.
Just my two cents.
A: While working as a prosecutor, the attorney would not be privy to the communications between the father and his former defense attorney. Meaning the former prosecutor does not have a duty of confidentiality towards the defendant he prosecuted. Fast forward to his work as a legal defender - he does not know any protected information about the father that would somehow be used to benefit or harm the son. I know it is difficult to follow but there is likely no conflict. If the son feels the attorney is not working in his interest or has some prejudice against him due to him prosecuting the father, he can contact the attorney's supervisor to discuss the situation or ask the court for a new attorney. He also has the option to hire his own attorney. Most attorneys, including myself, offer free initial consultations. Set one up and get some info. Best of luck!
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.