State v. Latigue, 2485

CourtSupreme Court of Arizona
Citation108 Ariz. 521,502 P.2d 1340
Docket NumberNo. 2485,2485
PartiesSTATE of Arizona, Plaintiff, v. Leo LATIGUE, Defendant.
Decision Date17 November 1972

Moise Berger, Maricopa County Atty. by Lon S. Taubman, Deputy County Atty., Phoenix, for plaintiff.

Arrick & Ball by Kenneth M. Arrick, Phoenix, for defendant.

HAYS, Chief Justice.

The parties to this Superior Court criminal case have stipulated that the following two questions be certified to this court:

'(1) Where a Deputy Public Defender, who acted as co-counsel for the defendant, received confidential communications from the defendant and had access to all records and information pertaining to the defense, subsequently becomes Chief Deputy County Attorney for Maricopa County, should the Maricopa County Attorney's Office be precluded from prosecuting that individual?'

'(2) If the Maricopa County Attorney's Office is precluded from prosecuting the defendant, should an independent authority be appointed to prosecute and should such authority be denied access to any evidence obtained by the County Attorney's Office?'

The questions are so closely related that we shall discuss the principles involved, together.

It is, of course, fundamental that a lawyer cannot represent two clients whose interests conflict. The problem is how far to extend this principle. The ethics committee of our state bar has ruled that a lawyer cannot defend a client in a criminal case which is being prosecuted by another member of his firm who is the prosecuting attorney. Ethics Committee Opinion No. 71--27. The State's brief concedes this point but seeks to avoid it by pointing out that in the instant case the lawyer who represented the defendant has taken no part in the prosecution and is not the County Attorney, but is 'a mere assistant.' It appears, however, that he is more than a mere assistant--he is the County Attorney's chief deputy, and as such, he has supervisory powers and duties over the assistant county attorney who is prosecuting. Moreover, if the County Attorney's Office is functioning efficiently, its staff has frequent meetings to discuss cases, and even without meetings, staff members often talk about their cases with one another. The situation in the instant case, therefore, may be distinguished from the Ethics Committee Opinions Nos. 190, 235 and 260.

We do not rest our decision only on the fact that the attorney involved here is the County Attorney's chief deputy; even if he were not, that office would have to divorce itself from the prosecution in this case, because even the appearance of unfairness cannot be permitted. What must a defendant and his family and friends think when his attorney leaves his case and goes to work in the very office that is prosecuting him? Even though there is no revelation by the attorney to his new...

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51 cases
  • Chadwick v. Superior Court
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • May 23, 1980
    ...to a prosecutorial office. The Arizona court applied it on the basis of preventing an appearance of impropriety in State v. Latigue (1972) 108 Ariz. 521, 502 P.2d 1340. We believe the ABA's interpretation of the imputed knowledge rule to be the better view. Only by a particularly strained a......
  • People v. Green
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • January 26, 1979
    ...in the case * * *."17 See, E. g., Westinghouse Electric Corp. v. Kerr-McGee Corp., 580 F.2d 1311 (CA 7, 1978); State v. Latigue, 108 Ariz. 521, 502 P.2d 1340 (1972); Alpha Investment Co. v. Tacoma, 13 Wash.App. 532, 536 P.2d 674 (1975); Wilson v. Wahl, 182 Kan. 532, 322 P.2d 804 (1958); GAC......
  • State v. Pennington
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • March 16, 1993
    ...impropriety. Like Caesar's wife, they must be above reproach. Id. at 384-85, 524 P.2d at 1000-01 (quoting State v. Latigue, 108 Ariz. 521, 523, 502 P.2d 1340, 1342 (1972) (en banc)). A year later, however, this Court ruled that in some cases a showing at an evidentiary hearing can overcome ......
  • Lacey v. Maricopa Cnty.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • August 29, 2012
    ...divorce itself from the prosecution in[that] case, because even the appearance of unfairness cannot be permitted." State v. Latigue, 108 Ariz. 521, 502 P.2d 1340, 1342 (1972). At that point, it is "necessary that the County Attorney secure the appointment of a special prosecutor if he wishe......
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