Soldotna, AK asked in Gov & Administrative Law and Legal Malpractice for California

Q: When a public defender has a personal conflict of interest, to whom should this concern be addressed and by who?

2 Lawyer Answers
Robert Kane
Robert Kane
  • Eagan, MN
  • Licensed in California

A: The defendant can speak to the public defender's supervising attorney or perhaps the judge.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Legal Malpractice Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: When a public defender has a personal conflict of interest, the concern should be addressed to the public defender's supervisor. The supervisor will then determine whether the public defender can continue to represent the client. If the supervisor determines that the public defender cannot continue to represent the client, the supervisor will assign the case to another public defender.

The concern can be addressed by the client, the client's family, or anyone else who is aware of the conflict. The person who is aware of the conflict should contact the public defender's office and speak to the supervisor.

It is important to note that the public defender has a duty to represent the client zealously and to avoid any conflicts of interest. If the public defender has a personal conflict of interest, the public defender must withdraw from the case.

Here are some additional tips for clients who are concerned about a public defender's conflict of interest:

* Be direct and honest with the public defender about your concerns.

* Ask the public defender to explain how the conflict will affect their ability to represent you.

* If you are not satisfied with the public defender's explanation, ask to speak to the supervisor.

* Be patient. It may take some time for the supervisor to resolve the conflict.

If you are not able to resolve the conflict with the public defender's office, you may want to consider hiring a private attorney.

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