conflict of interest

I have been charged with assault causing bodily injury and false imprisionment. I am being represented by PDO. i found out that my attorney has represented the plaintiff mas a PDO ina case prior to this. Is this a conflict of interest?

Asked on May 26, 2009 under Criminal Law, Iowa

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It certainly sounds like a conflict of interest to me, and the first thing you should do is call this to your attorney's attention.  Criminal defense attorneys typically handle a large number of cases, especially public defenders, and your lawyer might simply have forgotten the complaining witness's case that he handled; whatever you know about the earlier case might be helpful to the lawyer in checking on this if he still doesn't remember the individual when you bring it up.

If - IF - you can prove that the attorney did represent the person who is accusing you of these charges, and the attorney still doesn't withdraw from the case, you need to bring this up with the person in charge of the PDO office or program, and if that doesn't work, you need to bring it to the attention of the court.

It's possible, I suppose, that the attorney's previous representation of the other party could help you -- but that's exactly the problem.  The other party probably has no idea that this attorney is defending you now, and if the problem isn't raised and resolved until the trial, you could end up having to go to trial with a new attorney who hasn't really had the time to get familiar with all the facts.


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