Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Dilemma

Two attorneys appointed to represent the defendant in a death penalty claimed that a conflict of interest prevented them from handling a hearing on substantive motions. They disobeyed the trial court's order that they attend and participate in the motions hearing.  The judge held the attorneys in direct contempt.  Today, the Georgia Supreme Court held that the contempt was appropriate. A dissent would find that the attorneys properly declined to proceed in the face of the conflict: "The majority would compel an attorney to compartmentalize his loyalties and proceed with representing his client as long as the matter at hand did not directly involve the subject matter regarding which counsel's loyalties were divided.T he majority's holding thereby ignores this court's recognition that no conflict of interest is permissible for counsel in death penalty cases..." (Mike Frisch)

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