Professional Responsibility - Criminal Law Ethics – 6600
The basic text for the course is Understanding Lawyers’ Ethics by Monroe Freedman and Abbe Smith. Other readings will be assigned. We will study the ethical dilemmas of the prosecution, defense, and judge in a criminal case. We will address the limits on the lawyer’s duty of zealous representation in our adversary system. Must you be the devil’s advocate? Must you take advantage of an adversary’s mistake, especially if you are the prosecutor? We will address client confidentiality. Must the defense lawyer who learns of the location of critical evidence divulge it to the prosecutor or court? We will address perjury and the search for the truth, the coaching of witnesses, and the ethics of cross examination and closing argument in the criminal case. We will address prosecutors’ ethics in the context of the decision to charge a crime, the disclosure of exculpatory evidence to the defense, rewarding cooperation, and the handling of informants, codefendant witnesses, witnesses who have been paid, and other unsavory characters. We will study conflicts of interests for the prosecutor and defense lawyer. We will study the ethics of plea bargaining from the perspective of prosecution and defense. We will discuss the need for the impartial judge, the role of the judge in the criminal case, and the ethics of sentencing.