A QUESTION for lawyers: If Casey admitted things to her attorney

Discussion in 'Caylee Anthony 2 years old' started by GameTheory, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. GameTheory

    GameTheory New Member

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    If Casey admitted to her attorney that she killed the baby (IF she did kill the baby)....where does that leave the attorney? What are the ethics or law for that? Can a lawyer continue to represent someone and lie on a trial if their client confessed to them that they did the crime? I seem to believe lawyers can't do that, hence they avoid to have such discussions with their clients....I am wrong? (I know most lawyers ''suspect'' their clients did what they are accused of doing - I am talking about a situation where the client admits and gives info to the lawyer because the client knows all about lawyer-client confidentiality.) I would like to be informed about this.

    The reason I am asking is this:

    this whole Padilla story is soooooooo weird for me. First of all it is rather obvious he was approached by some middle man of Baez. Why would Baez do that when Padilla is coming out saying how he will make Casey talk to him, confess things to him, tell him where the baby is? Why would the attorney contact these people and take Casey out from a pretty safe place (prison) regarding incriminating yourself, and hand her into the 24/7 watch of people who are not binded by the same laws and ethics police and prison personnel are?

    So my question is this: if the attorney has information from his client about the whereabouts of the child (alive or dead) does he have to report it? If he reports it then of course he is breaking the attorney-client confidentiality. A solution for an attorney in such a position is to bring someone else in the situation and have HIM (PADILLA) exctract the SAME INFORMATION the attorney already knows?

    :bang::bang::rolleyes::eek:


    Thank you in advance for any answers. :blowkiss:
     
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  3. chizap

    chizap New Member

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    WOW! Game Theory! Great question! Good Thinking!
     
  4. txsvicki

    txsvicki New Member

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    And, is the attorney required to tell LE this information? What if someone tampers with evidence?
     
  5. my2cents

    my2cents Former Member

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    I'll answer in the simplest way I can without going into a paper about this...

    Attorney-client privilege does cover confessions where the murder has already occurred. It will not apply if I walked into a lawyers office and said that I was going to kill someone. Ethically, he would have to report that.

    I'm a third year law student, so I haven't taken the bar but I hope this answers your question.
     
  6. distracted

    distracted New Member

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    In most states, if not all, an attorney is bound by attorney/client privilege. If a crime (murder) has been committed, the attorney is bound to keep that confidentiality.

    Here's the exception: An attorney is required to disclose information which would prevent a future death or bodily harm.
     
  7. my2cents

    my2cents Former Member

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    Sorry, I just reread your post. I'm tired so I am not on top of things tonight.

    The privilege will not apply to any and everything that is said to an attorney. It definitely does not apply to third parties. So, yes, technically, Padilla could talk to Casey and turn the info over to LE, but "the truth and Casey are strangers" so I doubt anything Padilla gets her to say will pan out.
     
  8. Sherbie

    Sherbie New Member

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    I agree with the other answers. The attorney/client privilege covers confession of past crimes and the attorney is not obligated to report confession of such; however, if an attorney learns that his client plans to harm or kill someone or the client passes on to the attorney that someone else may do so, the attorney is obligated to report that information to LE.

    I'm not sure it would be ethical (legally speaking) for Baez to encourage someone to extract a confession or incriminating evidence against his client or to knowingly allow his client to be tricked into it, but I'm guessing that would be a big no-no. I'm not sure what obligations bondsmen have to the court...maybe we can ask Tony what they are required to report (or not).
     
  9. Fermi

    Fermi New Member

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    This is a murky area and it varies from state to state; the rules permitting disclosure of client confidential information require the attorney to make a judgment call regarding the seriousness of a client’s expressed or implied intentions. So, in essence, an attorney may or may not disclose this information, they are not "required" to do so, it is their option.

    IMO
     
  10. GameTheory

    GameTheory New Member

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    Thank you all for your answers.

    My trouble understanding the situation is why will an attorney contact and deliver his client to this person that says they will be on Casey's back 24/7 to keep her talking. That defies any logic. And why will Padilla ANNOUNCE to Casey and her attorney his intentions and his strategy to make her tell him something? :bang::bang::bang:

    Unless Padilla is just coming up with this excuse to shield himself from the public and media backlash while he gets some free publicity for his show and the attorney knows he has nothing to be afraid about regarding his client incriminating herself. What I am afraid will happen is that Casey will be out and going to various places ''looking'' for Casey with Padilla while the news stations are following them. A BIG CIRCUS. Because really....is she going to stay at home? She has been ''crying'' from prison that she can't help her child while she sits in there so once she is out is she going to sit at home watching tv and reading the newspapers and getting more backlash for doing nothing or is she going to drive Padilla on more wild goose chases?

    And I won't be surprised if this is a big media stunt. Meaning that they will bail her out but only with the intention to return her back to prison in 2 days with the excuse of ''breaking'' some impossible rule they will impose on her. Padilla's team I mean.

    While I welcome everyone doing their best to find Caylee I cannot get over the FACT that all is played in front of the media and one cannot forget that in the past people have done way more worst and unethical things to be on the news or get a show. So......so far I have only seen OTHER people being benefited from the whole situation: Padilla, the spokesperson, tv psychics and of course the mother of the century Cayse.

    When will it be beneficial for Caylee? When something happens that is beneficial for Caylee I will admit this person (or these persons) was doing everything for Caylee. But not until then

    Now who I have NOT seen being benefited by the media's attention are Cayse's friends, Amy, boyfriend, people she hang out, neighbors, etc. And that is people that REALLY KNOW WHAT HAPPENED DURING THOSE DAYS (I don't mean what happened to Caylee but what Casey was doing and saying). And I am very OPTIMISTIC about the fact that I don't see them in the media getting their 15 minutes of publicity. Cause it can only mean they are seriously working with the LE trying to find an explanation out of this whole mess.
     
  11. Fermi

    Fermi New Member

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    Hi GameTheory,

    Yes, an attorney can still ethically represent a client that has confessed to them. The attorney is not "lying" for them; the burden of proof is on the state, NOT the defendent/defense counsel. However, you are correct in that attorneys try to "avoid" having such conversations with their client.

    A competent lawyer NEVER asks their client if they are guilty; and, if they can avoid it, they never let their client tell them so on their own.

    A lawyer cannot suborn perjury. So once a lawyer knows you're guilty, s/he cannot put on any testimony that contradicts that knowledge. All s/he could do is point out weaknesses in the prosecution case, not put on any exculpatory evidence.

    Also, a lawyer is not supposed to knowingly allow a client to perjure themselves (i.e. if you know your client is guilty you can't put them on the stand and allow them to lie). Knowingly allowing a client to commit perjury can get you disbarred.

    Most guilty criminal defendants don't take the stand. And although the court instructs jurors not to infer guilt from a defendants not taking the stand at trial, logically if you were on the jury you would expect an innocent person to take the stand, and come up with some plausible explanation.

    As for the Baez/Padilla partnership, while I feel that is highly abnormal and has the potential for unethical/disastrous results, I can only assume they have their reasons.

    ETA: An attorney's duty to keep client confidences is the bedrock on which the American justice system is built. If clients did not feel free to speak candidly, their lawyers could not represent them effectively. However, the attorney discourages "full" disclosure of their clients' culpability for the aforementioned reasons.

    IMO
     
  12. txsvicki

    txsvicki New Member

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    So, basically then, Baez will never tell if he knows Casey did murder Caylee and probably doesn't know anyway. Leonard is only looking for an alive Caylee and will probably never be told if she is dead or where the body is.
     
  13. EastSideOfSaddness

    EastSideOfSaddness Former Member

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    Are the visits with her lawyer monitored?? I wouldn't think so but I'd thought I'd ask.

    Maybe Baez needs her to talk outside of jail so their conversations will never be heard by anyone. This would be the perfect thing for him to do to guarantee their conversations are not overheard etc. I don't know just trying to brainstorm here.

    IMHO, bailing her out with the consent/advice of her attorney would never happen unless it was beneficial to her in some kind of way. If this happens I will be sick, I hope they bug the house where she is staying.
     
  14. Bruce's_Mom

    Bruce's_Mom New Member

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    Attorney client privilege is sacrosanct, A lawyer may not violate the confidences of their client in any way, to do so is considered a very serious breach of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The narrow exceptions to the rule is if an attorney is given physical evidence of a crime personally, then they must turn it over. Meaning if someone was stabbed and the offender went to their lawyer and gave them the knife. The lawyer must turn over the knife to law enforcement, but may do so anonymously.

    Further the rule about not putting client on the stand/etc is actually a little broader, the rule is basically that a lawyer may not knowingly put on false evidence. Basically, he cannot put before the court what he knows is a lie. This does not mean he cannot say Casey should be found not guilty if he knows she is, it just means he cannot put on witnesses he knows will give false testimony, including Casey. In practice this happens however more than you would think, and in defense of criminal actions where the defendants liberty is at stake, believe me defense attorneys are given a little more latitude before they are hauled before an ethics board.

    On the issue of bringing Padilla in to "break her" in order to avoid breaking privilege. I personally believe that would be a breach of his ethical responsibilities as attorney, one of the highest order. As attorneys we are bound to act in the best interests of our client, even if it is hard to do emotionally, also I would argue that it is still breaking privilege just exploiting a third party to do so.

    No lawyer visits are not monitored in the jail. Disclosure of attorney client communication to any 3rd party except for to a spouse and in a few other narrow instances, destroys the attorney client privilege.
     
  15. GameTheory

    GameTheory New Member

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    Again thank you to all for clarifying the legal system and the duties of attorney. But especially thank you Fermi cause the above is what I heard before but had confused about when an attorney knows for a fact his client is guilty what he is not allowed to do. Thank you for clarifying it for me.
     
  16. Chezhire

    Chezhire Inactive

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    One more thing: as mentioned above, the duty to your client extends until death, even when the lawyer knows the client is guilty and that another man was wrongfully convicted of the client's crime, as illustrated by the following case that recently made headlines:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-04-13-murder-silence_N.htm
     
  17. SelmaClue

    SelmaClue Former Member

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    I think the reason Baez would do this, is because he either has some information already or believes the baby really was abducted. He is the only person who has been able to speak with Casey in private so far. In other words, he would NOT do this if he already knows for a fact that Caylee was murdered.

    What do you think?
    :confused:
     
  18. donnam

    donnam New Member

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    I have some questions too.

    IF a client tells the attorney they did commit the crime, can the attorney withdraw from the case?
    If said attorney were to withdraw from the case, can they then go to LE with the confession, or, are they still and forever bound by attorney/client privilege?
     
  19. SelmaClue

    SelmaClue Former Member

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    Forever bound.
     
  20. Michelle623

    Michelle623 New Member

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    I think I read that Baez was hired by the grandparents whose only goals are
    #1 Find Caylee - no matter what.
    #2 Protect Casey - no matter what.
    and in that order, regardless of how finding Caylee turns out.
    Therefore since the bounty hunters are brought in by the attorney for the defendant and the GP's - their only possible goal would align with the GP's wishes(who obviously control this entire circus), which is to not incriminate CA.
    IMHO,I doubt seriously that anyone involved (attn, bounty hunters or new spokesperson) would give up ANY evidence that will incriminate CA.
     
  21. amethyst221

    amethyst221 Former Member

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    Depending on the timing, an attorney for a variety of reasons can withdraw or seek permission to withdraw from representing a client. He can't breach A/C privilege in seeking to do so, and is still bound by by A/C privilege after he withdraws.

    Since someone brought it up, in cases in which a client confesses to the attorney, he can't thereafter suborn perjury by the client. There have been unusual cases where a defendant insisted on testifying, and the attorney had to just put him on the stand to tell his story in a narrative form, rather than elicit it through questions. There has to be a balance between due process for the defendant and his right to testify, even lie, and the attorney's ethical obligations.

    The privilege can extend to appropriate agents of the attorney, as well, people like paralegals, defense investigators. Not parents, obviously.
     

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