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Name: Carroll v. Superior Court
Case #: D039951
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 09/13/2002
Subsequent History: None

In a dependency proceeding, the public defender was appointed to represent seven minor siblings. The Department’s assessments of the children concluded that three were adoptable, three were not adoptable due to their ages, and one was adoptable but closely bonded to the older siblings. Counsel raised the issue of a conflict of interest regarding continued representation of the minors because the new sibling exception would require her to advocate on behalf of some of the minors against adoption while simultaneously advocating for adoption for the others. The trial court denied counsel’s motion to be relieved, and a petition for writ of mandate followed. Here, the appellate court granted the writ. An attorney must withdraw from an existing representation of multiple clients when an actual conflict of interest arises among those clients. Remand was required to determine whether each minor required separate counsel or whether groups of minors could be properly represented. An attorney may not be appointed to represent multiple minors if it is reasonably likely that an actual conflict will arise.