People v. Fields

Defendant was charged with sex offenses against his wife’s daughter in Henry County. While still married, he had moved in with another woman in Rock Island County and was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against her nine-year-old daughter. In the Henry County case, the state introduced testimony about the Rock Island crime and the conviction. Defendant was again convicted. In both prosecutions, defendant was represented by the same attorney. On appeal of his Henry County conviction, he alleged that his lawyer had a per se conflict of interest because the Rock Island victim, who also testified at the Henry County trial, had been represented by this attorney in the capacity of guardian ad litem in an unrelated matter. The appellate court remanded for a new trial. The Supreme Court reversed, reinstating the conviction. A per se conflict of interest, requiring automatic reversal, does not require proof of impact on the attorney’s performance. The guardian ad litem involvement with the witness was long over when defendant was tried and the witness, as person, could not be considered an “entity” assisting the prosecution. View "People v. Fields" on Justia Law