Case Details


No Conflict Where Attorney General Represents Prison Officials In 1983 Case Where Prisoner Urged Attorney General To Investigate Case.

Filing State



Appellate Court of Illinois, 5th District




Arnett v. Markell, 845 N.E.2d 752 (Ill. App. Ct. 2006)


No conflict where Attorney General represents prison officials in 1983 case where prisoner urged Attorney General to investigate case, because Attorney General does not represent individuals, and appointment of AAG who had not read allegations protected plaintiff.

Case Description

In a prison litigation case, the plaintiff prisoner challenged the Attorney General’s representation of the warden and other prison officials in connection with his §1983 case. The plaintiff sought to disseminate an internal investigative report and the defendants had prevented him from doing so. In the course of his attempts to disseminate the report, the plaintiff had sent a letter to the Attorney General’s office asking the Attorney General to open an investigation of the matter. The lower court ordered the Attorney General to place an assistant Attorney General who had not read the letter in charge of the case. The court ruled that this was not sufficient to create a conflict of interest because “the Attorney General’s office does not represent private individuals and there was no attorney-client relationship between Arnett and the Attorney General’s office.” By ordering that a different assistant Attorney General-one who had not read Arnett’s letter-take over as defense counsel, the court “protected Arnett’s interest in avoiding disclosures not intended for his opponents and, at the same time, allowed the Attorney General’s office to fulfill its statutory duty to provide the defendants a free defense.