Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Public Defender May Be Retained

A hearing panel in Illinois concluded that a public defender who was appointed to represent a defendant accused of selling marijuana and thereafter was retained in the case did not in so doing engage in ethical misconduct .  The public defender was permitted to engage in private practice. The panel rejected the argument of the bar administrator that the absence of a specific prohibition did not preclude a finding of an ethical violation in this circumstance. The panel "[did] not believe this is a good practice" as it promotes the perception that retained lawyers will do a better job than public defenders. Nonetheless, there was insufficient evidence of a violation here. (Mike Frisch)

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