Legal Ethics

Judge OKs Special Prosecutor, Calls DA's Prior Work for Fatal Crash Defendant an 'Extreme' Conflict


A newly appointed district attorney can’t simply wall himself off from his office’s prosecution of a man he formerly represented in a felony fatal crash case but must step aside for a special prosecutor, a Nevada judge has ruled.

Senior District Judge J. Charles Thompson last week disqualified District Attorney Steve Wolfson from the felony drunken driving case, citing “a true and extreme conflict of interest” between Wolfson and the defendant, Edris Ghani, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Rutledge, who argued that the DA “sufficiently screened himself from any conflict related to defendant’s case,” said the DA’s office will ask the Nevada Supreme Court to reverse the judge’s decision. Thompson said he will stay the ruling pending the appeal.

According to pleadings in the case, Wolfson personally represented Ghani during a seven-month period between December 2010 and July 2011.

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