Should an attorney representing a defendant in a violent crime simutaneously represent that defendants victim in a different case?

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Should an attorney representing a defendant in a violent crime simutaneously represent that defendants victim in a different case?

person “A” stabs person “B”. Person A gets a public defender, the case is still ongoing. Sometime later person B becomes a defendant in the same type of case. Should the court appointed attorney represent both? Can he effectively?

Asked on May 14, 2009 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

L.M., Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

NO! There is a clear conflict of interest where an attorney is representing a defendant and that defendant's victim in a separate case.  This would not only be a bad idea, but a violation of attorney ethics.  Person B should find his own attorney or ask for a different public defender and tell the court what the issue is.


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