California Prosecutor May Not Compel a Private Victim to Fund a Criminal Prosecution

In People v. Eubanks (1996) 14 Cal. 4th 580, the prosecutor solicited and accepted financial assistance of around $ 13,000 from the corporate victim in order to satisfy a debt the prosecutor had already incurred hiring an expert to investigate the high-tech aspects of the alleged crime. After considering the factual con text of the case, the high court concluded the prosecutor had a conflict of interest, and the conflict was disabling almost as a matter of law. (See People v. Eubanks, supra, 14 Cal. 4th at p. 604, conc. opn. of George, C. J.) The court would have ordered recusal of the prosecutor except that after oral argument the criminal charges were dismissed, making the case moot. Eubanks teaches that a prosecutor may not compel a private victim to fund any part of a criminal prosecution.