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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 20239
Experience:  Licensed attorney with 29 yrs. exp. in criminal law
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We have a situation in a probation violation case where the

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We have a situation in a probation violation case where the prosecuting attorney in the case is now the head of the District Attorney's Office and has appointed a court appointed attorney from his former firm( who was the prosecuting attorney at the time) to represent the person who is facing a probation violation. To me this seems like a conflict of interest how would the defendent receive a fair trial? I should also note that the person who is head of the DA office now also had a personal interest in the original case. (a friend or family member). What is the appropriate term to be used here and what are our option to ensure the defendent receives a fair trial?

I am sorry but I must be confused about the facts that you presented and will need you to clarify them for me. In particular you said the DA (Head prosecutor) appointed a defense counsel to represent this individual in their VOP hearing. That is not possible, since only the court (a judge) and the Public Defender, who does not work for the prosecutor, can appoint and assign a defense counsel. Any clarification you can add would help.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

My appologies, I thought the DA's office oppointed the defense counsel. This is making more sense to me now. Our Case is in regards XXXXX XXXXX personal loan that was taken out in the amount of $60,000. for a business adventure. The Judge has a relationship with the prosecuting attorney (at that time) John.


John (the prosecuting attrny at time) is friends with the person whom the original loan was taken out with.

The original loan was taken out against a house in Hood River and the daughter had Mom sign the deed of the house over to her then the brother and the friend (prosecuting attorney John) felt this was dipping into an inheritance.


That's where our case came in, because the personal loan was taken with daughter who had the deed signed over to her from the house.


So now the defendent is back in Hood River for a Probation Violation (Probation would be up in 9 months) and our Public defender (court appointed attorney) is from the same office that the prosecuting attorney John (who is now Head of the DA's office).

The Public Defender Brian has talked the defendent into waiving a 14 day right to something... can you tell me what that something could be?


Why would the Public Defender who is from the same previous office as the prosecuting attorney(now head of the DA office) want to waive any rights?


Can the DA's office re-visit the case? and this seems like a huge Conflict of Interest to me? What can we do to ensure the defendent is given a fair hearing?


Thank you for your help I hope this claifies things if I can be more specific please let me know.




Hello again B,

Unfortunately there is no way for me to guess what the defendant's public defender is recommending that he waive. That is something that the defendant will need to get clarified. There are often times actions that an attorney might recommend that might not make sense from a tactical standpoint to someone who is not an attorney. That is why it is important to ask questions and have the situation explained so that you can make an informed decision. Just like with medical care. It does come down to the need to have faith that the professional knows what they are doing. If the defendant in this case doesn't feel comfortable with their attorney, they could ask for a new public defender, but they may or may not be successful depending on their reasons. If his attorney is negligent in his duties or otherwise violates attorney ethics rules, then he can appeal any court actions based on ineffective assistance of counsel. Or, report this attorney to the State Bar Association.

As for the conflict of interest, I'm not sure I understand all the dynamics and couldn't give you an absolute opinion even if I did, since that would violate the terms and conditions of our use of this website, but if any of the actual court personnel were involved directly in a previous business deal with the defendant versus being an attorney involved in a prior case, then the defendant could ask for them to be removed from the case. However, as I just indicated, if these are just attorneys that know each other personally and have worked together before, then there isn't anything per se that is a conflict in their working on opposite sides or in judgment in this case. This happens everyday, especially in small towns. It can be a little discomforting, but attorneys are professionals who are sworn to a certain code of ethics that require that they act objectively and in the best interests of their clients. If that duty is violated, then the defendant would have cause to file appeals or complaints.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Can the DA's office re-open the case on a probation violation? Can this night mare start all over again?


Should his probation officer be asking me questions about his previous case?




I really can't say because I don't have a fraction of the facts that I would need to know what the real underlying issue is here. Anytime someone is on probation they can be violated for not following the terms of the probation as long as the violation occurred during their probationary time. So, the DA can always look into something, but it is up to the court to decide if there has been a violation during that time period and up to his defense counsel to challenge the allegation of violation.
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for your time, this has helped us.


I don't know how we are to fight a small town system like Hood River with out an outside attorney. But this has helped me understand the system a little better.


Thank you,


You're welcome and best of luck to you.