Saturday, July 28, 2007

Imputed Conflict No Basis To Overturn Conviction

In a postconviction proceeding on behalf of defendant convicted of first degree murder, the Nebraska Supreme Court evaluated and rejected a conflict of interest claim. An attorney who had been associated with defense counsel (the court describes the arrangement as office-sharing, with the associate paying half of his earnings to the firm) accepted employment with the prosecutor's office. The prosecutor's office continued to handle the appeal until postconviction counsel learned of the conflict. A special prosecutor was then appointed. The court held that the departing attorney did not have any confidential information about the case. An actual, rather than potential or imputed conflict, is required to establish a basis for postconviction relief. (Mike Frisch)

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