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  #1    
Old May 14th, 2013, 10:03 PM
The Dark Avenger's Avatar
The Dark Avenger
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This is one issue I have much difficulty with; though I have some preconceived notion in favor and against both, I cannot say with any certainty where a line should be drawn between alleged criminal rights and allowing for a more efficient justice system.

What would you do?

1) My client tells me he killed his mother. What is the ethical discourse to take? Preserve client-attorney privilege or breach it and not adequately defend your client. Or neither?

2) My client is an alleged rapist and child molester. It is my duty to only take on a client that I can adequately defend to the best of my ability; do I have a duty as a lawyer court-appointed to the case to defend this client regardless of charges made? As a lawyer, is it my job to not assume guilt of my client, even speculative evidence all points to guilt?

3) Does the justice system (U.S or otherwise), sometimes protect people who have committed crimes? Would this happen less often without the defendant protections? Would more innocent people be behind bars if these protection were not in place? If yes to the last two questions, that more people who commit crimes are acquitted and more innocent people are put behind bars, which is worse, and what is the best remedy?

Bonus: Not related directly to the prompt, but applicable.
How has media negatively/positively affected the criminal justice system in high-profile cases?
Do we as people often jump to the conclusion that someone is guilty without knowing all of the facts? For instance, the Casey Anthony case. I will not say either way that the verdict was right or wrong, though most people have assumed guilt with VERY LITTLE knowledge of the court proceedings.

Spoiler:


You can choose to address these questions or not; they are here to help you begin to think about each of these ethical dilemmas.
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  #2    
Old May 21st, 2013, 06:44 PM
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twocows
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As a defense attorney, it is your duty to act in the best interest of your client, not to find the truth. That particular role is delegated to the judge and/or jury, who arrive at that decision based on the arguments and evidence produced by each side. If you believe that system is correct and respect it, you should fulfill your role to the best of your abilities. If you have ethical concerns and do not want to represent a client, then don't. Someone will, and that is as it should be.

Our system is designed to err on the side of producing fewer false positives than false negatives; we value the innocence of innocents more than the guilt of the guilty. Those who have done no wrong should not be made to suffer under the law. I agree with this system, even if it means sometimes we'll let the bad guy go free. If you disagree, you should be trying to change it from the outside, not circumventing it from within. Do not choose to accept a role if you are not prepared to follow through.
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Old May 24th, 2013, 01:57 PM
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FreakyLocz14
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As someone who is in law school, I can tell you that revealing ANYTHING that your client has told you is a serious violation of legal ethics, and could get you disbarred!

Our legal system is an adversarial system. Both sides of the case are expected to be only do what's in the best interests of their clients, and the judge and jury are supposed to rule on the law or the facts that are presented to them.
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