Attorney - Client Confidentiality

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Title: Attorney – Client Confidentiality Course: CJS220 Submitted by: Travis Hance Due Date: November 9th, 2011 Instructor: Stephen Gillespie

Attorney - Client Confidentiality

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The privileged communication between an attorney and client is one that is necessary for our legal system to function properly. We as a nation hold sacred the concept that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Therefore the defendant must be able to discuss truthfully with their attorney aspects of the case in order to receive a fair trial. That does not mean that there are not problems with the ideal of privileged communications. Attorneys understandably have moral issues with the criminal actions of their clients, conflicting with their personal desire to provide representation that honors our legal values. A major issue influencing the attorney – client privilege involves perjury. “How should an attorney respond when her client announces his intention to commit perjury when testifying in his own defense?” (Meyer & Grant, 2003, Page 162). In the 1986 case Nix Vs. Whiteside, the Supreme Court attempted to address the issue of whether a defendant has been deprived of sixth amendment rights because an attorney did not impartially represent them. “In Nix vs. Whiteside the Supreme Court upheld a defense attorney's right to refuse to assist his client in presenting testimony which counsel believes is false.” (Beckman Jr., 1986, Page 692) Does an attorney who reveals information from a client expressing intent to commit perjury violate that client’s constitutional right? This will remain a moral dilemma for defense attorneys as they attempt to uphold and protect the values of our legal system, while providing representation for the citizen.

Attorney - Client Confidentiality

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References

A: The Courts in Our CriminalJustice System, by Jon’a F. Meyer and Diana R. Grant. Published by Prentice-Hall. Copyright © 2003 by Pearson Education, Inc.

B: SIXTH AMENDMENT--EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL: A DEFENSE ATTORNEY'S RIGHT TO REFUSE COOPERATION IN DEFENDANT'S PERJURED TESTIMONY. Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology; Fall1986, Vol. 77 Issue 3, p692-712, 21p, by David L. Beckman Jr.