Does the Public Defenders office defend two people involved in the same case? 12 Answers as of April 15, 2011

There are 2 people with the same case number. Is it practice for 1 public defender to handle both cases? Should they have separate defense?

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Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
When this occurs it is customary that one defendant is represented by a conflicts program that is administered separately from the public defenders' office.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/15/2011
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
No, that is a classic conflict. The PD should only defend one of the parties charged. The others should be defended by alternate PD's and private conflict attorneys.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/11/2011
The Law Offices of Michael S. Berg
The Law Offices of Michael S. Berg | Michael Berg
I have never heard of one public defender representing two people in a criminal case. There would be a potential inherent conflict of interest and I can't imagine they would ever do so. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/11/2011
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
It is possible if there are no conflicts between the two, they can ask for separate counsel.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/8/2011
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
The public defender should not represent more than one defendant in a case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/7/2011
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman | Gabriel Dorman
    No. The Public Defender's Office will not represent more one defendant on a case in order to avoid any conflict of interest. If there are two defendant's on a case who both need the service of the public defender then one will be assigned an attorney from the public defender's office and the other will most likely be assigned an attorney from the alternate public defender's office.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/7/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    I would hope not. That would be a conflict. My opinion is that if the PD has talked to two defendants in the same case, the PD has a double conflict and must withdraw from both.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/7/2011
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    No. The public defender cannot defend the defendant and any co-defendants. The public defender will pick the first one that they get or the one that has been their client before and will declare a conflict of interest on the other defendant. The other defendant will either go to an alternate public defender or to a criminal defense panel where a private attorney will be paid by the court to represent the defendant.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/7/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    Usually in the situation where there are 2 co-defendants in the same case, and neither case has private counsel, the public defender will handle one defendant, and what is often referred to as an "alternate public defender" will handle the second defendant. The alternate public defender is a private attorney, but that attorneys fees are paid by the Court. Perhaps there is an exception if both parties sign an informed consent form to both be represented by the same attorney, but I have not seen that personally done for a public defender.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/7/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    Yes the office of the public defender cannot handle a single case with two co-defendants. Typically in larger metropolitan areas one of the defendants will be represented by the public defender and the other will be represented by the alternate public defender. If there is no alternate public defender they will be assigned to a conflict attorney that is usually a private attorney that will be paid by the state for their service on the case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/7/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    No it isn't. The other defendant would be repsented by the alternate defender which, if a conflict still exists, would result in the Judge appointing a private "panel" attorney (they charge less fee but are still a lot more expensive than the PD).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/7/2011
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