State of Arkansas v. Marcus Rackley – Conflict of Interest

4 02 2014

The Arkansas Supreme Court reversed and remanded for a new trial the case of Marcus Rackley.  Rackley was convicted of rape, incest, and a variety of other sexual offenses.  He and his wife retained an attorney to represent them both.  This common scenario became a problem at trial when the trial court permitted witnesses to testify about what Rackley’s wife told them.  Rackley’s wife had explanations that she could have provided the jury about those statements; however, the attorney advised her to invoke her 5th Amendment rights to protect herself.  In doing so, she prevented the jury from hearing any explanations for those statements.  Thus, the incriminating statements were used to convict Rackley.  The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the attorney protected Rackley’s wife instead of Rackley, which created a conflict of interest.  





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