When can my attorney be found to have a conflict of interest?

Cody Dials is charged with first-degree murder in the death of David Rhea, 39, a commercial fisherman who lived in Pinellas Park. Recently, a gun that may have been used in the killing was discovered. The finding of this gun is bittersweet: it gave the prosecution a possible murder weapon, but it gave Cody Dials' attorney a possible conflict of interest.

Dials was one of three men on trial for the murder of Rhea, who was shot and killed on May 7, 2012. Dials would have been the first to face trial. The weapon that could have shot Rhea was discovered last week, in the bottom of a canal, after detectives followed hand-written instructions and a map. Authorities believe that the recently discovered letter and hand-drawn map were prepared by Dials.

After authorities found the possible new evidence, decisions had to be made. Specifically, the court decided that a continuance needed to be granted after the new evidence was found. But the continuance was not granted for reasons you would think - the continuance was granted because of a conflict of interest that arose as a result of the weapon.

The discovery created a conflict of interest for Dials' defense attorneys, because a lawyer from their agency is also representing someone who may need to testify about the discovery of the map inside the Pinellas County Jail. The Model Rules of Professional Conduct define what a conflict of interest is amongst current clients. Rule 1.7 discusses that a lawyer "shall not represent a client if the represent involves a concurrent conflict of interest. A concurrent conflict of interest exists if the representation of one client will be directly adverse to another client." In Dials' case, the testifying witness would have been directly adverse to Dials' position.

For that reason, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Cynthia Newton granted a request to give Dials a new attorney, who will need more time to study the case. Although the gun has been examined, it has not yet been determined to be the one used in the crime. Nevertheless, the judge made the right call by giving Dials a new attorney.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, Pinellas trial delayed after possible murder weapon surfaces, Curtis Krueger, 3/31/14

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • Badge 1
  • Badge 2
  • Badge 3
  • Badge 4
  • Badge 5
  • Badge 6
  • Badge 7
  • Badge 8

Contact O'Brien Hatfield, PA for a free case evaluation today

In Tampa, call (813) 345-4909. In Orlando, call (888) 496-5916 . For fast answers, email us using the form below.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

This site uses Google's Invisible reCAPTCHA, which is subject to Google's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Footer Brand

Tampa Bay Office
511 West Bay Street Suite 330
Tampa, FL 33606

Toll Free: 888-496-5916
Phone: 813-345-4909
Tampa Law Office Map

Central Florida Office
121 South Orange Avenue Suite 1500
Orlando, FL 32801

Toll Free: 888-496-5916
Phone: 407-686-1696
Orlando Law Office Map

South Florida Office
Northbridge Tower
515 North Flagler Drive
Suite P-300
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Toll Free: 888-496-5916
Phone: 407-686-1696
South Florida Office Map

South Florida Office
Brickell Bay Office Tower
1001 Brickell Bay Drive
Suite 2700 M-1
Miami, FL 33131

Toll Free: 888-496-5916
Phone: 305-859-0046
Miami Law Office Map