10/9/09 [11/22/09: Added Chris Gunter’s name and bio link]. The Pedernales Electric Cooperative case has been going on for a while but a new issue has come up that caught my attention. In the criminal case against former PEC executive Bennie Fuelberg, the AG’s office is trying to get Fuelberg’s attorney, Chris Gunter, disqualified, claiming that his previous representation of the PEC, as the alleged victim, amounts to representation of an opposing party. For more, see this Statesman article.
The applicable rule is counterintuitive to many people but it’s well-established that, in a criminal cases, the alleged victim is not a party to the lawsuit. Rather, the parties are the State of Texas and the accused. Nonetheless, the AG’s office would like the court to find the opposite in this particular context.
I haven’t had cause to research the issue but I’m skeptical of the AG’s position. Furthermore, I suspect that such an exception would open up a loophole that would be contrary to the interests of the State and alleged victims in general.
11/22/09 Update. A visiting judge rejected the state’s request to have Bennie Fuelberg’s attorney disqualified. See this Statesman article for more.
1/29/10 Revision. Changed category from “Cases of Note” to “Case Law.”