Is there a conflict of interest if a DEA agent is married to the prosecuting attorney? 41 Answers as of June 11, 2013

My home got raided because of a smell that they mever did find a reason. one of the DEA agents that was here is married to the prosecuting attorney of the same county I live in. Can the whole thing be thrown out for conflict of interest?

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Clifford Clendenin & O'Hale, LLP
Clifford Clendenin & O'Hale, LLP | Locke T. Clifford
Not likely. The DA may have to recase themselves but in reality that probably won't be necessary either. You would have to show that their relationship somehow impacted you negatively or violated your constitutional rights.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 6/14/2011
Palumbo and Kosofsky
Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
No there is not a conflict of interest if a DEA agent is married to the prosecuting attorney.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/9/2011
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
Probably not although the prosecutor should not be handling any case in which her husband is involved. If that occurred in your case, you might be able to attack the results of the search at the time your case is litigated.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/24/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
The relationship between the prosecutor and agent is not a conflict of interest since they have the same interests in the case. A relationship between the defendant and the agent or a Judge and the agent would be a conflict of interest
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 4/24/2011
Harris Law Firm
Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
If the DEA is investigating your for crimes, those cases would be filed and dealt with in Federal Court. If the DEA agent is married to a Federal Prosecutor, that may be a conflict. However; if the DEA agent is married to a county or city prosecutor, that would not create a conflict.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 4/24/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    No, the conflict of interest would have to affect your interest adversely. You don't have any interest vis a vis the DEA or the prosecutor's office. Your best bet would be to hire a good attorney and challenge the search. Other than that, I don't have enough information from you to comment any further. Please do feel free to contact me should you wish to discuss this situation further.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    A possible conflict of interest ,as you describe, without something more will not result in the case being thrown out.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    The answers to the questions are based upon the facts given. Wrong or incomplete facts may affect the vitality of the answer.

    There is no conflict of interest if the IO and the DA are married.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    This certainly sounds as though it could constitute a conflict of interest. It is impossible to determine with complete accuracy from this basic information provided but at the very least it could be possible to have a new prosecuting attorney assigned to the case or have the DEA agent's testimony ruled inadmissible in court.

    These are all things that you should consult directly with your defense attorney about as they will be able to file the appropriate motions with the court. If you do not yet have a defense attorney working on your case, we invite you to contact our firm at the information on this page for a free case evaluation to determine whether or not we would be able to assist you in this matter.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    I wouldn't think that there's an obvious conflict of interest, although in some jurisdictions, the DA's office will seek to screen cases so if the arresting officer and the prosecutor are romantically involved, they don't work on the same case together.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    The police do not necessarily have probable cause to search a home because of a smell alone, they would probably need a search warrant or consent to search by someone who lives there. The officers or DEA agents could be related or married to a prosecutor, that alone is not a conflict of interest. A conflict would be if an attorney represents two co-defendants or if the prosecutor had prosecuted a party and now represents the party as a defense attorney later. A conflict of interest is different than a marriage relationship of police and prosecutors. If a prosecutor was present during the search the DEA probably had a search warrant. DEA agents and prosecutors could have been called in by the police after they smelled marijuana, but if they just showed up and searched they most likely had a warrant signed by a judge because someone told the police there was drugs in the house or they bought drugs from that house recently. Call me if you would like a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/24/2011
    California Criminal Defense Center
    California Criminal Defense Center | Ardalon Fakhimi
    I have seen this scenario before and in prior cases it has been deemed a conflict of interest. This is particularly true if the relationship was not disclosed to the defense so that the potential bias can be presented to the jury during the course of the trial.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    There is no conflict of interst where a DEA agent is married to the prosecuting attorney and there is no grounds based on this for the charges against you, if any exist, to be dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    It's not actually a conflict of interest, however, even if it is, the prosecutor's office will simply shift your case to another US attorney or District Attorney and proceed. Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney soon. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    No. That really doesn't make any sense as DEA is Federal and a prosecuting attorney is State.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    In my opinion, there is no conflict of interest applicable in this case, as both the agent and prosecutor are "on the same side" in other words, members of law enforcement. Of course, if the raid was unconstitutional, you probably have a good motion to suppress the arrest and any evidence that was seized during the raid.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Talk to your lawyer or the Public Defender. It most likely will not be thrown out but the attorney will have a field day cross examining the narc. Also you might be able toget the prosecutor taken off the case. Is this in federal court in Fresno by any chance. Several of the female DAs are married to narcs. I can't imagine what the attraction is.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Nice try, no brass ring. You have stated nothing that would be a conflict without actual evidence of bias or improper conduct in this case. There are many cross-discipline marriages in the legal profession, including judges, prosecutors, counsel, probation officers, police, etc. Many times married parties end up on different sides, generally without demonstrable conflict. It might require a disclosure to the jury, but it is not generally prohibited.

    More to the point: What can you do? Hire an attorney, unless you know how to effectively represent yourself in court against a professional prosecutor intending to convict. No amount of free 'tips and hints' from here or anywhere else are going to effectively help you in your defense, other than the advice to exercise the 5th Amendment right to not talk to anyone except an attorney about the case. Most police and prosecutors will happily tell you that 95% of people convict themselves by trying to be 'helpful and cooperative', either during initial contact, questioning, interview or interrogation. If serious about hiring counsel, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    Based on the limited facts you have shared, my opinion is: No. There is no conflict.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman | Gabriel Dorman
    Throw what out? Were you charged with a crime? In any case, the mere fact that the DEA agent is married to a prosecuting attorney in the same county doesn't make it a conflict of interest.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    It would create problems in my mind if I were a juror, but I am not certain of the ethical prohibition, or rather, I would think that a different prosecutor could be used against you. You may be able to get an opinion out of the Alabama State Bar in that regard, but I suspect they would only opine on the prosecutor as opposed to the agent involved. It sounds to me that you need counsel to review the affidavit that supported the search warrant to see if there existed probable cause to support the search of your home. He or she could also research the issue of the conflict involving the married agent/prosecutor. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    Normally no. You should talk to your attorney and see if he or she thinks they see a conflict. The prosecutor normally takes the word of all police officers in their cases. The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    There is no conflict of interest when the DEA and the DA are married that will get the case thrown out. However, but she will not likely be able to prosecute the case in trial later, assuming you object to the judge about her representing the state when her husband is a witness. That would represent a conflict.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    I would need further information since the law regarding what constitutes an actual as opposed to only a potential conflict of interest is fairly complicated. You should hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    No. You'd expect the prosecutor and the police to be aligned. If there were some genuine identifiable misconduct (like the prosecutor failed to hand over evidence that calls into question the reliability of the DEA agent) then that misconduct could lead to dismissal or some lesser remedy like the exclusion of the DEA agent's testimony. I suppose that might tend to prove bias, as well, but it's hard to imagine that the bias itself would make any difference.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    That is not a conflict that could result in the case not being prosecuted. At most, the office would just make sure that a different prosecutor was handling the case but even that isn't necessary.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    The Law Offices of Jason Chan
    The Law Offices of Jason Chan | Jason Chan
    Even if there is a conflict the government can just change attorneys.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Attorney Paul Lancia
    Attorney Paul Lancia | Paul Lancia
    Not thrown out, but you could argue a conflict. Call me if you have any questions.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Law Offices of Marshall Tauber
    Law Offices of Marshall Tauber | Marshall Tauber
    There is no difinitive answer to your question that could be provided at this time on just this portion of the facts. More needs to be known. Typically DEA agents work for the federal government and unless the wife is a federal prosecutor there is likely little conflict. Conflict arises when both parties work directly with the same employer. If the drug agent was employed by a county agency from the same county where the wife was employed there MAY be some appearance of impropriety if a connection, beyond the mere fact of their marriage, is shownthat the agent obtained information as a result of his wife's employment or, if the wife was directly (not indirectly) involved in writing the warrant or issuing the charges. It usually takes an obvious conflict of severe impropriety in order to have all charges dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    Doubtful. I think this is a fairly common scenario. There's no conflict of interest if they're on the same side.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    No, that relationship does not constitute a conflict of interest.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman
    Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman | Scott G. Hilderman
    Not if a different prosecutor handles the case if there is a case against you.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law | Edward A. Kroll
    Short answer - no. That is not a conflict of interest legally, and would not result in having the case thrown out. The best advice is for you to get a criminal defense lawyer immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
    I believe that a DEA agent should not work on a case being prosecuted by his wife. Hire a criminal defense attorney immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    A relationship between a cop and a prosecutor is not a conflict of interest in itself. I think to show a conflict, you would need to show something more, like the cop was giving the prosecutor access to stuff he shouldn't have seen, or the other way around.

    Unless you can show they did something to conspire against you improperly, I don't believe a relationship between a cop and a prosecutor is automatically a conflict. Please feel free to call with any other questions or to schedule a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Benari Law Firm
    Benari Law Firm | Arik T. Benari
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 6/11/2013
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    How is it a conflict? If they found drugs then you get arrested and if no drugs you don't. If the judge was married to DEA then would not be able sign on warrant because not independent. Just prayer that the marriage ends in a heated divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Law Office of Martin Blank
    Law Office of Martin Blank | Martin E. Blank
    No the whole thing shouldn't be thrown out.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    That is probably not a reason to throw the case out but it is possible it could be a reason to assign a 'special prosecutor' from another county to handle the case.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/22/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    I am a former state and federal prosecutor who now practices law with my son. I recommend that you hire an experienced criminal lawyer ASAP to discuss the potential ramifications as to whether or not a motion to recuse, or disqualify, would help in your case. An experienced criminal attorney can discuss with you all your rights and options. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/22/2011
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