Metropolitan News-Enterprise: Judge Disqualifies Incoming Prosecutor As Defense Lawyer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David R. Fields held yesterday that the man District Attorney George Gascón wants to serve as a special prosecutor, going after law enforcement officers who allegedly commit crimes, cannot continue to represent criminal defendants, booting him off a case when he would not provide an assurance that he will decline the job offer.
Gascón on Feb. 12 asked the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for authority to hire criminal defense lawyer Lawrence S. Middleton for a four-year term, at $750,000 for the first year and $1.5 million in each of the succeeding years. The board gave its assent on March 23, but Middleton has not yet signed the contract.
Deputy District Attorney Sean M. Carney on April 16, 2021 sent an email to Middleton expressing a concern over his continuing to represent Larthan Merriweather—charged in one complaint with carrying a loaded gun, not registered to him, in public, and in another complaint with three counts of grand theft and other offenses—while at the same time serving as a special prosecutor. In response, Middleton secured a waiver-of-conflict agreement, prepared by the Office of County Counsel, to be signed by himself, Gascón, and Merriweather.