Lawyer Represented Both Defendant and a Witness

In In re Personal Restraint Petition of Richardson 100 Wn.2d 669, 675 P.2d 209 (1983), the trial court did not commit reversible error by not further inquiring of defense counsel concerning an unidentified possible conflict of interest. In that case, defense counsel represented both the defendant and a witness whom the defendant called to establish a claim of self-defense. When the witness started to testify to self-incriminating information, the conflict of interest was brought to the trial court's attention. The trial court was informed by the witness that he and the defendant shared the same lawyer and the court realized the danger of potential conflict. Instead of allowing the witness to consult a different lawyer, or allowing the defendant to obtain a new lawyer, defense counsel chose not to examine the witness on a key issue pertaining to the self-defense claim and not to elicit testimony from the witness which would have impeached an important witness for the State. Id.