"Conflict" of interest
Today I had to handle a calendar for one of my coworkers who had to attend a funeral. He had several people who did not show up for court, but I did handle one Motion for Bond. Before that hearing started I noticed one of the attorneys from another division in my office sitting with the victim. I thought, "hmm that's a little odd." But didn't really have time to investigate until later.
The hearing itself was to set bond for a client accused of rape. On Halloween he was at a party at Little Five Points and then late at night went home with a few friends. During the course of the night, someone had sex with someone. It's hard to tell who was doing whom since they had each had enough alcohol to drown a whale, but someone ended up rather unhappy and filed rape charges. The hearing itself was pretty standard: the client's father and sister both testified; as did the victim. I think I did ok, but I was a bit intimidated by the TV news camera. There is a murder trial going on in our courtroom, and the cameras were there to capture the drama. Then the judge set bond at $50,000.00. Not bad for a rape case.
After I handled the hearing I looked around for the young lawyer who had just been there. He was not around, so I called his supervisor, described what he looked like, got his name and cell phone number and asked him to hop back over to the courtroom for a quick talk about showing up with a victim in one of our cases. This wasn't by any means a confrontational chat, just wanted to know what was up with the situation. Turns out he had known this girl for a really long time (had actually been her friend for years) so we decided that it would be best if our office turned this case over to the Conflict Defender's Office. The professional rules say that if one lawyer in the firm has a conflict, all the lawyers share that conflict of intrest. So, since this guy knows the victim, it may appear improper for us to be representing the defendant.... probably best to stay away from any potential problems anyway.
I thought it was funny to see a public defender sitting with the victim in the case. He did think that the defendant had hired a private lawyer though, so I understand his thought process. At least I got to meet a new coworker, turns out he went to Georgia State law school, so we had a few things in common.