If a public defender represented my boyfriends co-defendant on charges they are currently facing is that a conflict of interest?

Asked about 1 year ago - Stockton, CA

My bf is being represented by the exact same public defender that recently represented his co defendant in the case they are both involved in, the court split up their case and has already gave the co defendant a deal, sentence, and out date before they even had my boyfriend go to court. he is now facing all charges which doesn't make sense since he was the passenger in the vehicle. If his co defendant was offered a deal shouldn't my bf be offered the same deal. I'm not familiar with the county that is charging him &was told to see if I can find someone willing to do a pro-bono case or at least a consultation because there are a few things that do not seem right and we think it might be because he isn't from that town. any advice anyone is able to provide would be very appreciated. thank u

Additional information

My boyfriend did not waive the conflict as a matter of fact, the judge and public defenders are pretty much steering clear of the fact that he does have a co defendant and that they have already went ahead and gave him a deal and sentence before bringing my boyfriend out to court. Is there some way that I can find information on conflict of interest of the same public defender representing both co defendants. I have heard that it is quite hard to get a case severed, so if that is the case how did the case get split up so easily and how is it that the codefendant is already finished with court and has the 2 lesser charges if he was the driver of the vehicle no one has actually been charged (well I guess the co defendant has)

Attorney answers (7)

  1. Greg Thomas Hill

    Contributor Level 20

    13

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . It does seem like a conflict because one attorney is representing two people in the same case. The defendants can waive the conflict and allow such dual representation and this might have happened. Did it?

    Whether your boyfriend should be offered the same deal as the other defendant is very difficult to answer without reading the police report and knowing the criminal history of your boyfriend and his co-defendant.

    As to getting free legal services, tell you boyfriend to ask the judge for an alternate public defender.

  2. Dan Eugene Chambers

    Contributor Level 20

    13

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It sounds strange. You and your boyfriend need to raise the conflict issue with his current counsel and if necessary, your boyfriend may need to raise it with the judge. As far as getting the same deal, that depends on many factors that only his attorney knows about.

  3. John Kevin Hinely

    Pro

    Contributor Level 9

    12

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Unless there was a waiver to conflict free counsel, then an attorney should not be representing both defendant in the same case.

    As to being offered the same deal, this does not always occur, as each defendant has their own set of circumstances. For example, one may have a prior prison term that increases punishment, one may have other types of priors that enhance sentencing, one may be on probation, there are just too many variables.

  4. Sholeh Iravantchi

    Contributor Level 15

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Generally Public Defender office have a system to check conflicts. Either they missed it or had waiver. You need to bring this to the attention of PD.

  5. Victoria L Clemans

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Usually, they run a conflict check and if a true conflict is there, they will give it to the alternate public defender or to indigent criminal defense appointments (bar panel). If the lawyer stays on the case, I would obtain a private lawyer or ask for APD or BP because there are too many things that could go wrong, even with a conflict waiver. LAW OFFICES OF VICTORIA CLEMANS (310) 803-9111.

    This is a general statement regarding law and facts and should not be construed as an attorney-client relationship... more
  6. Dean George Tsourakis

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    10

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It may be a conflict. Point out to the judge what you have put on the ite and request a conflict attorney.

  7. Stephen Ross Cohen

    Contributor Level 20

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with counsel, this should be brought up to the attention of the District Attorney and Public Defender Chiefs for that county. The PD may have gained information that is working against your BF because of his biases.

    My name is Stephen R. Cohen and have practiced since 1974. I practice in Los Angeles and Orange County, CA.... more

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