Matthew Carling of Cedar City, a former Lincoln County Assistant District Attorney, has been hired by Lincoln County to be the new conflict public defender counsel.

Three lawyers, including Carling, Kirsti Pickering of Ely and former county District Attorney Greg Barlow made proposals to the board of county commissioners June 3.

Pickering will finish the contract through June 30, previously held by Shane Manueli before he went into private practice in Ely.

District Attorney Dylan Frehner, who was the public defender before being elected district attorney, said there is always a need for a conflict public defender. The current public defender in Lincoln County is Franklin Katschke in Caliente.

The public defender is ethically prohibited from representing two co-defendants in the same case. One person receives counsel from an attorney in private practice.

Katschke said, “Anytime two people are arrested at the same time on the same charges, there is a conflict, similar to a he said/she said situation.”

Frehner explained Lincoln County has usually relied on the public defender’s office in Ely, and the court rotates assignments to attorneys in private practice.

Frehner thought it would be more cost-effective to go with an attorney who presented a specified proposal.

Barlow and Carling were present in person as their proposals were reviewed; Pickering was contacted by telephone. Frehner said he has worked with each of the lawyers and each is very capable.

The state of Nevada requires each county to provide a public defender service, even if they might have to come from outside a given county.

Pickering referenced an important case coming up in August that will involve use of a conflict counsel.

Frehner said the need for a conflict public defender fluctuates quite a bit locally.