SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. —
According to Idaho court filings, Kootenai County Public Defender Anne Taylor represented someone with the same name as one of the murder victim's parents, beginning Nov. 21, 2022.
This representation lasted until Jan. 5, 2023. On this day, Taylor signed a 'substitution of counsel' and passed off the case to another attorney. This is just one day after Bryan Kohberger was transported from Pennsylvania to Idaho.
KREM2 is choosing not to share details of the charges or name of the individual at this time.
Former criminal defense lawyer, Mo Hamoudi, said conflicts of interest can be common in law.
“There is nothing sinister or nothing untoward about learning about a conflict," Hamoudi explained. "It happens all the time. In any public defender office, there are always potential conflicts of interest because the public defender's office represents a large amount of members of society who can't afford to pay for lawyers."
He said when this happens, the attorney has an independent obligation to address the potential conflict.
Then, the court makes its own determination of conflict.
“What needs to be determined is what is the matter and what is the representation, so the cases have to be analyzed, the facts need to be analyzed, and then a determination needs to be made,” Hamoudi said.
But, whether it impacts the court process depends on what type of conflict there is.
“What's called a concurrent conflict of interest, which means that at the same time, that's where there's a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyers responsibility to another client, a former client, or a third person," Hamoudi said. "And concurrent conflicts of interest can arise from the lawyer's responsibilities to a former client.”
Hamoudi said this means a lawyer cannot use information relating to a previous representation to the disadvantage of the former client.
He said conflicts of interest can sometimes result in the judge appointing another attorney. At this time, he said it's too early to say if there will be any effect on the Moscow case.
KREM 2 has continued to reach out to the Kootenai County public defender's office for comment but will likely not hear back due to the gag order.
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