Eyebrows are being raised after Ann Taylor, the attorney who was representing the mother of one of the four murdered Idaho students, is now representing the alleged murderer Bryan Kohberger. She began representing the accused after he was extradited to Idaho earlier this month.
Taylor, the chief of the Kootenai County public defender's office, withdrew from representing Xana Kernodle's mother, Cara Kernodle, on January 5 as per court documents. This was the same day that Kohberger made his first appearance in the Latah County courtroom.
According to Idaho Statesman, Taylor's office defended the parent in four previous cases, with the most recent case being November 19 â drug charges were filed against Cara Kernodle. The report also highlighted that the Kootenai County public defender's office represented another parent of a murder victim in four criminal cases since Taylor became the chief public defender in 2017.
Cara Kernodle is Heartbroken
"I'm heartbroken. I'm heartbroken because I trusted her," Cara Kernodle told NewsNation. "She (Taylor) pretended that she was wanting to help me and to find that out that she's representing him, I can't even convey how betrayed I feel."
Cara said she was not notified about it and has not been in recent contact with Taylor. "I haven't spoken with her. I found out through a friend who found it on Reddit." Cara said she "absolutely" will fight Taylor representing Kohberger, and will refuse to sign a waiver that would allow her to continue representing him.
The murder victim's mother added that she has already signed over power of authority for Taylor to help her with getting into rehab and whatnot. "I don't understand how she could do this. I don't understand what happens now. Does she still have power of attorney or what goes on now?"
Conflict of Interest
Mo Hamoudi, former criminal defense lawyer, believes conflicts of interest can be common in law. He said there is nothing sinister or nothing untoward about learning about a conflict. "It happens all the time. In any public defender office, there are always potential conflicts of interest because the public defender's office represents a large amount of members of society who can't afford to pay for lawyers."
Hamoudi explained that the attorney has an independent obligation to address the potential conflict. As such, the court makes its own determination of conflict. "What needs to be determined is what is the matter and what is the representation, so the cases have to be analyzed, the facts need to be analyzed, and then a determination needs to be made."
The legal expert added that a lawyer cannot use information relating to a previous representation to the disadvantage of the former client.
One of the 13
Ann Taylor is one of the 13 public defenders in Idaho licensed by the state's public defense commission to represent persons facing the death penalty. Being an Idaho native, she graduated from University of Idaho. Taylor is also the only one in all of North Idaho Prosecutors who is yet to indicate whether they seek the death penalty in Kohberger's case. She previously worked in Kootenai County's public defender office from 2004 to 2012, then shifted to private practice before returning to take the lead.