Monday, March 06, 2006

Legal Ethics Hypothetical

Fact Pattern: Driver and Shooter come over to Client's house and have an argument with him and threaten him. Client calls their bluff, and tells them they'd better have a gun next time.

Driver and Shooter come back to Client's house, Shooter has a gun. Shooter fires a couple shots at Client's house. The shots miss Client, but one shot strikes and kills Client's brother. There are no other witnesses.

Shooter is charged with Murder 1, Driver is charged with accessory after the fact (he was driving) and Client is picked up on outstanding warrants.

You represent Client on the outstanding warrant cases. The DA wants to talk with Client about the Murder. Client is OK with that and you attend the meeting with him. You and the DA find out that [generally, a) Driver is very strongly inculpated in the Murder and b) Shooter's culpability is strongly mitigated].

Questions:
1. If the DA does not tell counsel for Driver and (particularly) Shooter about the conversation, do you tell/ may you tell Shooter and Driver's counsel about the conversation?
2. Is there a difference if you ask Client if you can talk to Shooter's and Driver's lawyers about the conversation and Client says, "No"?
3. What if the DA's argument at trial directly contradicts what Client said about Shooter?

If there's anyone still reading, I'll update with everyone's + my answers later in the week.
Jack

9 Comments:

Blogger ambimb said...

I'm definitely still reading. I don't have any answers but I'd love to hear what you and others have to say on this.

3/07/2006 7:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see how it would affect your client's case if you passed the information along, and I don't see how it would qualify as privileged information, so unless I'm missing something, the client doesn't get a veto here. Not sure what to say about passing along the information but I think I'd mention that a conversation occurred and then step out of it. If the DA contradicts the content of the conversation in court and you don't say anything to anyone then you are implicated in the deception and there's a bigger problem than if it was simply ignored, and then I see an obligation to say something but I don't know how that should be handled.

3/12/2006 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would say that BRADY controls here and that the D.A. has the constitutional duty to disclose the information to Shooters Counsel. If he does not then it is YOUR duty to do so...IMO (of course, I am just a second year law student so what the hell do I know?)

3/15/2006 4:59 AM  
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