Course Name: Intro to Legal Ethics
Instructor: Brent Halbleib
Assignment: Unit 3 Confidentiality and Attorney/Client Privilege
Name: Donna Marie Brown
Date: July 26, 2015
Possible Points: 100
Confidentiality and Attorney- Client Privilege
Donna Marie Brown
Confidentiality and the Alton Logan Case
“Sometimes trying to make wrongful conviction right, creates an ethical tension for civil and criminal attorneys. With any kind of practice, but mostly with criminal defense, a lawyer may learn from a client that they committed a crime ascribed to someone else. When an innocent person is faced with conviction, imprisonment, or in some cases, the death penalty, and ...view middle of the document...
The attorney-client privilege is one of the oldest recognized privileges for confidential communications. The US Supreme Court has stated that by assuring confidentiality, the privilege encourages clients to make “full and frank” disclosures to their attorneys, who are then better able to provide candid advice and effective representation. An attorney speaking publically in regard to a client’s personal business and private affairs can be reprimanded by the bar and/or disbarred, regardless of the fact that he or she may no longer be representing the client. Discussing a client’s or past client’s criminal history, or otherwise, is viewed as a breach of fiduciary responsibilities.”(Attorney-Client Privilege, 2015)
Yes, Andrew Wilson confessed to the murder of the McDonalds security guard. Yet Coventry and Kunz did not come forward with this information because they were Wilson’s attorneys (defending him with another murder case of killing two police officers). If they had come forward with this information, the attorneys would be violating their professional obligations to their client by putting him at risk of prosecution. (And maybe even the death penalty). With the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.6 Confidentiality, it requires that attorneys maintain their client’s confidentiality unless providing information is necessary to preserve another’s life, or prevent bodily harm from coming to another. With this, Coventry and Kunz argued that their statements would have been inadmissible in court and would have opened them up to disciplinary measures. Also Adam Liptak (a reporter on the case notes) stated that legal ethicists see this as an obligation as fundamental. “If clients do not feel free to speak candidly, their lawyers could not represent them effectively and making exceptions risks eroding the trust between clients and their lawyers in future cases.” (Confidentiality in Journalism and Law, 2010)
Allowing confidential information to become part of any action in the justice system without the approval of the client is a bedrock principle of our justice system. Courts have left the attorney-client privilege pretty much unscathed. It is, after all, the law’s own. With this miscarriage of justice,...