Submitted: August 29, 2014
Steven P. Wood, Esquire, and Daniel Logan, Esquire, Deputy Attorney Generals, Delaware Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Attorneys for the State of Delaware.
John S. Edinger, Esquire, and Sean A. Motoyoshi, Assistant Public Defenders, Public Defender's Office, Wilmington, Delaware. Attorneys for the Defendant.
CALVIN L. SCOTT, JR. JUDGE
Before the Court is Defense Counsel's memorandum declaring a conflict of interest created for the Public Defender's Office by its representation of the Defendant in this case and its previous representation of one of the State's witnesses in this case. The Court has reviewed the parties' submissions. For the reasons set forth below, Defense Counsel's request to withdraw or otherwise preclude the State's witness from testifying is DENIED.
Statement of Facts
On February 18, 2013 Jeffrey Kent ("Defendant") was indicted in New Castle County on Murder in the First Degree. The Public Defender's Office was appointed to represent Defendant on this charge on February 22, 2013.
On February 26, 2013, Defense Counsel sent a Discovery letter to the State requesting the identity of State witnesses to conduct conflict checks. The State responded to Defense Counsel's request on July 29, 2014 and informed Defense Counsel that one of its witnesses, Thurman Boston ("Boston"), was formerly represented by an attorney in the Public Defender's Office.
The Public Defender's Office was previously appointed to represent Boston on April 11, 2013 and June 28, 2013. These matters were closed on June 28, 2013 and March 11, 2014, respectively. As part of Boston's defense, the Public Defender's Office's psycho-forensic evaluator completed an assessment of Boston. The Public Defender's Office also accessed and reviewed Boston's medical records and prescription information. Boston's files are currently still located in the Public Defender's Office.
On August 1, 2014 this Court held an office conference to discuss this potential conflict of interest.
On August 26, 2014 Defense Counsel notified the Court via email of his discovery of a second State's witness that concurrently represented by the Public Defender's Office, Siron Chambers ("Chambers"). Chambers' case has been resolved, but Chambers was an existing Public Defender's Office client when Defendant's filed was opened.
The Court responded to the parties on the same day. In its response, the Court noted that the moving party, Defense Counsel, has the burden of presenting issues showing a conflict. Given that Boston's mental health history is public knowledge, the Court instructed Defense Counsel to file any additional helpful information to support his motion, based on personal knowledge and without referring to their files, for in-camera review by August 29, 2014.
On August 29, 2014, Defense Counsel declined to make such a filing on the basis that Boston had not given Defense Counsel permission ...