Question for Defense Attorneys.?

I've always wondered this...

If a defense attorney finds out that his client is guilty of a crime, does that lawyer own an obligation to report it? In other words, if a lawyer finds evidence that his client did murder someone, and the client insists on pleading "Not Guilty," does that attorney have to continue defending him? Can he testify against him?

It merely seems odd that a legal representative may have to fight his hardest to return with someone off the hook whom he knows is guilty.
If the lawyer finds evidence that his client did do it, he doesn't own to tell anyone. But he would have to recuse himself from defending the individual - the ruling prevents a lawyer from lying in a court of regulation, as well as suborning perjury. A lawyer couldn't legitimately or ethically go on defending the client if he found proof that the client was within fact guilty.

The attorney would not be able to testify against the individual because of attorney/client privilege, and near would be no way of disclosing the evidence found without discussing items covered by the privilege.
A lawyer cannot put on a defense he/she knows to be false, nor allow his/her client to flop on the stand. Most times, if a lawyer knows her client is guilty, the skin won't be about whether the client did the act, but what mitigating circumstances or affirmative defenses might be brought contained by to explain/excuse the act (like self defense) or lessen the sentence.
i am not an attorney. but i know how it works. no, there is "attorney-client" privilege. the attorney can choose not to represent him if he knows for sure that he is guilty, if the attorney is contained by private practice. if the attorney works for the state then he has to guard him, as innocent, even if he knows the guy did it, if that's what the defendant wants.
If a defendent confesses to his legal representative, that lawyer cannot put him on the stand to testify in his own defense. The defendant can, however, enter a plea of Not Guilty. The attorney is bound by attorney/client privilege not to reveal what the defendant tell him.
They can defend him, they cannot however, allow testimony they know is a tale.
The attorney cannot give any information to the prosecutor that could be detrimental to the defendant. That's the way the criminal defense system works. Sucks doesn't it?
A thoroughly astute and interesting question, and a puzzle that has remained possibly the most perplexing and difficult ethical problem for the legal profession for many, frequent years.

In order to even begin analyzing the problem, you own to realize that it is near impossible for an attorney to ever "know" that a client is guilty - that is, unless the attorney be there, at the time that the crime was committed.

A defendant who informs his attorney that he is guilty might be mentally deranged, covering for another being, hoping to negotiate a plea bargain, or maybe confused something like what constitutes a crime, or who may have actually committed it. It's not plenty just to have your client confess to you.

In the notable novel Crime and Punishment, by Dostoevsky, the readers know that the protagonist, Raskalnikov, have killed 2 women - however, during the course of the book, other people confess to those crimes. In that circumstance, Raskalnikov's attorney could not enjoy known what to believe about his client's guilt or innocence. In unadulterated life, a client's guilt or innocence is rarely particular, and rarely black or white.

Interesting articles, one of which I'll link below, own analyzed how an attorney's ethical responsibilities are drawn into conflict by a case where the advocate "knows" that his client is guilty. An attorney is bound by his legal ethics to protect confidential client communications (his client's permission of guilt surely qualifies here), and he must "act beside commitment and dedication to the interests of his client". At the same time, the ethics of canon require that an attorney always proceed with "candor" and honesty towards the court.

In the 1967 Supreme Court overnight case "U.S. v. Wade" (not Roe's Wade), Justice White wrote "[Unlike prosecutors] defense counsel had no comparable obligation to ascertain or present the truth...[W]e also insist that he save from harm his client whether he is innocent or guilty." White goes on to make other interesting and relevant points - I commend that dissent to you as interesting further reading.

The short answer is that - if it be possible to actually KNOW of a client's guilt - most attorneys would be torn between the responsibilities that they owe to their clients (especially that confidentiality issue!) and their own moral compass (cue the jokes that lawyer have no moral compass).

This is a very difficult issue, and one that brilliant minds enjoy debated for many years in the profession.

Check the article I've linked below for a longer discussion of some of the points that I've raised.

I hope this help! Source(s):…
Just because some one is not guilty doesn't mean that they haven't committed the deed. In your example of bloodshed someone, it may have been a sound homicide. The lawyer has a duty to present the best defense possible. This is our leading protection from unlawful prosecution. The attorney cannot let the person catch on the stand and commit perjury, but the attorney can only defend his/her client when fully informed thus any information gleaned from the defendant cannot be used because of attorney/client privilege. Teh same is true of your medical documents. This allows the free exchange of information to important indivual protectors.
No. A attorney has a client confidentiality agreement similar to the one a doctor has next to patients.
No. When a client speaks with his lawyer anything he say with regard to a olden crime that he has committed is considered privileged. All lawyers are bound to never reveal any such communication. It is call the attorney-client communications privilege. You have the absolute right to confidentiality when speaking next to your lawyer regarding departed acts.

Criminal defense is an adversarial system. The DA's job is to draw from a conviction. Your defense attorney's job is to give you the best defense regardless of whether you did it or not.

However, if a client tell an attorney about a criminal act that he plans to commit within the future this is not privileged and the lawyer is required to report the planned crime to the police.

I am not a legal representative. Only licensed lawyers can give court advise. The above should not be construed as legal insist on.
Client-Attorney confidentiality, no he does not have to report it. It is his position to defend the person. He may ask to be relieved of his duties (but the Judge will any appoint another attorney or the defendent will have to hire a new one). In some cases, the Judge will get the attorney defend the client no matter what. There is a murderer within my area that has have like 9 attorneys at this point. Everyone knows he did it but he is crazy, so he keep firing his counsel and asking for new ones. He cut up two teenagers and put their bodies in a storage element.

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