Posts Tagged ‘Ethics’

One Answer, but More Questions

October 23, 2012

Today in professional responsibility we learned something I’ve been wondering about.  Let’s say a lawyer is representing a client facing a murder charge.  If a lawyer’s client confesses to a crime, the lawyer does not need to disclose it.  The confession is privileged communication between the lawyer and client.  But, if the client gives the lawyer the murder weapon he used, the lawyer must disclose the physical evidence to the proper authorities.  I think it’s because privilege protects communications only, and a murder weapon isn’t a communication.

What I’m still unclear on is, if the client confesses to the lawyer, how is the lawyer supposed to mount a defense of the client?  The lawyer can’t be misleading about material facts.  Material facts would include I assume, if the client committed the murder.  And the lawyer must be candid to the tribunal.  Candid about things like, if the client committed the murder.  I need to ask the professor about the interplay between these rules.