If there is a conflict of interest, the rule says attorneys may represent clients if certain conditions are met and the clients give informed consent in writing.
The case summary said the siblings signed a waiver Viets provided them.
“My clients signed a waiver of conflict of interest,” Viets said on Tuesday. “I thought I was abiding by the rules. I think the essence of what the court has found is that they said my waiver wasn’t adequate.”
The Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel said Viets’ waivers “did not constitute ‘informed consent’” under state rules.
The DePriests “had no legal training, little experience with the criminal justice system and little to no experience in hiring an attorney,” the office said. “The Waivers did not disclose that different levels of culpability or group plea offers create conflicts.”
The state also said Viets led the DePriests to believe there would be no conflict of interest “unless they decided they wanted to turn on each other.”
According to the case summary, Viets argued he should be reprimanded, not suspended.
Viets, in addition to a long history of advocating against marijuana prohibition, also hosts a radio show in Columbia on KOPN (89.5 FM) called “Sex, Drugs and Civil Liberties.”