Tuesday, October 16, 2012
The North Dakota Supreme Court has reprimanded an attorney who represented both the alleged perpetrator and victim of a crime:
Blake D. Hankey was admitted to practice law in the state of North Dakota on May 5, 2005, and is currently licensed to practice law in the courts of North Dakota. Hankey was served a Summons and Petition for Discipline and submitted an answer. The Petition alleged that Hankey undertook dual representation of an alleged perpetrator and alleged victim of the crimes of aggravated assault and terrorizing. Both executed a single retainer agreement. Due to a no-contact order between the clients, the alleged victim signed in Hankey's office and the alleged perpetrator signed at the correctional center. When communicating with the Assistant State's Attorney regarding the alleged perpetrator's case, Hankey did not inform her that he also represented the alleged victim. When she learned of the dual representation, she confronted Hankey about what she perceived was a conflict of interest. Hankey falsely told her that he had cleared any conflict with his law partners. The Petition also alleged that Hankey had the clients execute a waiver of the conflict of interest. The Petition alleged that the conflict of interest was nonconsentable because the clients' interests were inescapably adverse.
The attorney violated Rule 8.4(c) by falsely claiming that he had "cleared" the conflict with his partners. (Mike Frisch)