PARENTS KILLED AMBER ALERT ISSUED FOR 13-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER
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Attorney Client Privilege/ Alton Logan Ethical Dilemma

Discussion in 'Caylee Anthony 2 years old' started by pirate, Jan 1, 2009.

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  1. pirate

    pirate Former Member

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    With the speculation about what Mark NeJame may have learned that compelled him to cease representing the Anthonys, I am wondering the following:

    If he learned that Caylee was dead and thrown in those woods, would he have been legally obligated to disclose this or would it fall under attorney client privilege?

    If he knew that the Anthonys were aware that Caylee was dead would he have been obligated to report this?

    I know there is a fine line between following the letter of the law and not impeding an investigation versus having a protected A/C relationship.


    A few more questions:

    Is there some kind of motion that can be filed for a judgement that would supercede A/C privilege if an attorney felt strongly that they needed to report something learned from a client?

    What happens to an attorney who breaks A/C privilege? Is it black and white or is there a gray area that allows an ethical law professional to do the right thing?


    I would also like to know how A/C privilege works for Private Investigators. I had no idea there was any privilege granted in this kind of relationship but reading what I have about this supposed PI Casey videotape, I wonder what possible charges this person could be facing if he really did know that Caylee's body was in those woods and went so far as to videotape the area with the intent of creating (false)reasonable doubt or hindering the discovery of the remains.



    I'm more interested in facts than I am in speculation or opinion, thus my request that someone who really understands the laws of privilege replies to this.


    One more question asked on behalf of Okie............ How can Attorney Client Privilege apply to MN and the A's and Caylee's body? MN hears the A's say the body is down the street. I don't think that applies unless they said "we killed her and put her body down the street".
     
  2. Wudge

    Wudge New Member

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    Hypo: GA meets with MN and advises him that he has found Caylee's body. He asks MN to get prepared to defend him if needed, because he intends to move the body and bury it.

    Elements that pierce attorney-client privilege vary by jurisdiction, however, it's very possible that MN could be compelled to disclose this communication (information), because GA has communicated that he intends to commit a crime. [End of hypo]


    Most courts extend the attorney-client privilege to the attorney's partners, associates and staff.

    HTH
     
  3. impatientredhead

    impatientredhead New Member

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    In People v. Belge, 50 A.D.2d 1088, 376 N.Y.S.2d 771 (1975), the lawyer was indicted for failure to disclose the existence and location of a body he found as the result of a client communication. The indictment was dismissed because the attorney-client privilege prohibited disclosure. See also, State v. Douglass, 20 W.Va. 770 (1882), where the court held that lawyer's observations of the location of his client's pistol were protected by the attorney-client privilege. N.Y. Ethics Op. 479 (1978). In Belge, supra, photographs of the body taken by the lawyer were also protected and not subject to voluntary disclosure. It is only when the lawyer takes possession of incriminating physical evidence from its present location that the duty of voluntary disclosure arises.
     
  4. impatientredhead

    impatientredhead New Member

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    http://www.abanet.org/media/issues/acprivilegeqa.html

    http://www.essortment.com/all/attorneyclient_ritc.htm

    These both explain it pretty well. Nejame could not disclose what they had told, unless like Wudge suggested they also informed him of intent to commit a crime. Nejame cannot choose to waive privilege because he is morally repelled by something he knows, only the client can waive privilege. They can know about evidence, they are suppose to encourage you to tell LE and not encourage destruction of evidence, etc... but they cannot provide that info to the police. They cannot accept evidence (ie a murder weapon), that must be turned over, but they cannot divulge the source of the item or any communication they received about the item.

    Violating privilege can bring disciplinary action including disbarment. The PI is covered under privilege if hired by the attorney, but after he is out of their employment, acting on his own, or telling other people not covered by privilege things get muddy pretty quickly.

    The location of Caylee's body in regards to the Anthony's would be covered because it incriminates them in conflicting statements given to the police and FBI, the money that has been collected under the guise of looking for a live Caylee when they knew were the body was located, etc.... leading us to "the anthony's will cooperate if an immunity deal can be arrange"
     
  5. okiedokietoo

    okiedokietoo New Member

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    How can Attorney Client Privilege apply to MN and the A's and Caylee's body? MN hears the A's say the body is down the street. I don't think that applies unless they said "we killed her and put her body down the street".
     
  6. Wudge

    Wudge New Member

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    The privilege protects both the attorney and the client from being compelled to disclose communications that are confidential.
     
  7. okiedokietoo

    okiedokietoo New Member

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    Still don't think that applies unless the A's said they killed her and put the body there.
     
  8. Wudge

    Wudge New Member

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    You should write out what you think the attorney-client privilege is.
     
  9. impatientredhead

    impatientredhead New Member

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    There are other crime related to this case at this point other than murder and the disposal of the body.

    They have lied to the police, they have collected money from the public under false pretenses, they have intentionally tried to steer the investigation to false leads (assuming it is true they knew she was dead). It is confidential information and protected.
     
  10. Janis396

    Janis396 It's getting dark, too dark to see....

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    Would the privilege apply to any knowledge that the Anthony's had or communications made to MN about a crime committed by another person (Casey), or does it just apply to a crime they themselves committed?
     
  11. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    Did anyone follow this story last year? I think we might have a thread on it. Anyway,it was really interesting and eye opening:
    Inmate’s freedom may hinge on secret kept for 26 years


    For a quarter of a century, defense lawyers Dale Coventry and Jamie Kunzwere bound by the rules of law to hold onto a secret that now could mean freedom for a man serving a life sentence for murder.
    The secret – memorialized in a notarized affidavit that they locked in ametal box – was that their client, Andrew Wilson, admitted that he shotgunned to death a security guard at a McDonald’s restaurant on the South Side in January 1982.
    Bound to silence by attorney-client privilege, Kunz and Coventry could do nothing as another man, Alton Logan, 54, was tried and convicted instead.
    The two lawyers testified in court last week that they were bound by theattorney-client privilege and Wilson’s admonition that they only reveal hisadmission after his death. Wilson, who was serving a life sentence for themurders of two Chicago police officers, died of natural causes Nov. 19.
    snip
    Coventry and Kunz both recounted separately how they had been haunted overthe years by knowing that they had evidence of Logan’s innocence, but couldnot legally disclose it until Wilson died.

    http://archives.chicagotribune.com/2008/jan/19/news/chi-secretjan19
     
  12. pirate

    pirate Former Member

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    Great info, Redhead, thank you very much.

    According to your quote, intent to commit a crime can allow for disclosure. Since the As are not charged with murder, or anything else for that matter, does A/C privilege really apply here??

    So if the As were hiding the knowledge that Caylee was dead- and possibly knew where her body was, the following crimes were being committed:

    - Obstruction of justice

    - Continuing to lie to the media and therefore the public- utilizing pictures of an innocent child in the mall when they knew darn well that Caylee was laying in the woods. Causing LE to investigate live Caylee leads.......

    - Continuing to collect donations for the search


    All of this, among other crimes involving disposition of a dead body were committed if the As knew Caylee was dead- and if they also knew where her body was.

    So would that not negate A/C privilege?
     
  13. Wudge

    Wudge New Member

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    Yes JBean. That case is a classic example of attorneys who believed themselves to be trapped.

    Many people said those attorneys did not do the right thing and had no heart.
     
  14. Wudge

    Wudge New Member

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    It would apply to what was communicated.
     
  15. impatientredhead

    impatientredhead New Member

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    You don't have to be charged with anything. All communication between you and your attorney is confidential. Since the new attorney came on they haven't asked for any money or spoken to the police so no new crime would be committed, and they don't meet the standard of resulting in death or serious injury.
     
  16. wallflower67

    wallflower67 Member

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    I have no idea what this means in "the real world" but I remember seeing an episode of LA Law, or some type of lawyer TV show, or maybe it was a move.

    The client told the attny where he hid the body, and the attny went to see it. He defended his client and the client was aquitted. He then phoned in an anonymous tip as to the location of the body so that the family of the victim could have closure.
     
  17. norr

    norr Former Member

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    ....... we need to be working drew petersen over ..... that is a crime waiting to happen. engaement to another early 20 something. too bad for her.
     
  18. pirate

    pirate Former Member

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    You are so right norr. I'd love to be a fly on the wall in his attorney's office.
     
  19. okiedokietoo

    okiedokietoo New Member

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    This is no where close to being an answer but I am determined to find a loop hole somewhere. This has more to do with evidence that would prove someone innocent

    Lawyers may disclose client confidences and secrets
    "when permitted under Disciplinary Rules or required
    by law or court order," DR 4-101(C)(2) and
    when the secrets involve "[t]he intention of his
    client to commit a crime and the information necessary
    to prevent the crime." DR 4-101(C)(3). The Code commands
    that a lawyer not "[c]onceal or knowingly fail to disclose
    that which he is required by law to reveal." DR 7-102(A)(3).
    EC 7-27 requires that a lawyer "not suppress evidence that
    he or his client has a legal obligation to reveal or
    produce."
    http://www.cobar.org/index.cfm/ID/3...'s-Incriminating-Physical-Evidence,-07/24/82/
    __________________
     
  20. impatientredhead

    impatientredhead New Member

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    That applies to a crime yet to be committed that will cause death or serious bodily harm. You can't tell your attorney you are going to kill someone, or rob a bank with a machine gun. That is not privileged. There are also fraud situations that will cause major financial harm that can be disclosed in some states. They cannot hold evidence for you, but they absolutely cannot share evidence or any statement made by you to them. They could be disbarred.

    I posted a link to a lawyer who was indicted for not supplying the location of a body and the case was dismissed because it was privileged information.
     
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