What is a conflict of interest regarding the investigation of a case?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What is a conflict of interest regarding the investigation of a case?

My ex-boyfriend was a probation officer in the county that we live in and still has working relationships with every level of the legal system here. He filed harassment charges against me and I’m wondering if the investigator over my case and he were friends before the case was filed. Is that conflict of interest?

Asked on April 22, 2019 under Criminal Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It is not a conflict that will automatically invalidate the investitgor's findings or result in the dismissal of any charges or case against you, because there is no actual "conflict": his own personal interests and his job are not in conflict, because knowing, even being friends with, your ex-boyfriend is not a personal interest of his (e.g. it's not like he has some monetary stake in the outcome, or could personally face charges). A potential bias is not the same thing as a conflict of interest. However, it is something that you or your lawyer (and you should have an attorney) could bring up at trial, if necessary, to undercut or weaken the investigator's credibility, which could make it more likely that the court would not accept or rely on his findings.

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