New Scholarship Spotlight: Rectifying Wrongful Convictions: May a Lawyer Reveal Her Client’s Confidences to Rectify the Wrongful Conviction of Another?

moliternojWashington & Lee Professor James E. Moliterno has posted the above-titled article on SSRN.  Download here.  The abstract states:

Awareness is increasing that the U.S. criminal justice system produces convictions of the innocent. Currently, except in two states (Alaska and Massachusetts), lawyer confidentiality law prevents a lawyer from revealing client information to rectify the wrongful conviction of an innocent. An interpretation of the standard future harms exception, especially with the Restatement illustration gloss, may yield permission to reveal the client’s information and rectify the wrongful conviction. But that result is far from certain and is weighted down with significant factor-weighing to determine if the wrongly convicted is suffering “substantial bodily harm.” Despite a broader view that would dictate revelation of such information, the individual defense lawyers and prosecutors involved are likely to resist results of factor-weighing that favor revelation. The Alaska and Massachusetts approach is cleaner but still requires what may be unpalatable to some: Inflicting harm on one’s own client to aid an innocent-other. As confidence in the justice system’s ability to convict only the guilty wanes, policy-makers should consider adopting a clearer path to revelation of client information when necessary to rectify the conviction of an innocent who is currently incarcerated.

3 responses to “New Scholarship Spotlight: Rectifying Wrongful Convictions: May a Lawyer Reveal Her Client’s Confidences to Rectify the Wrongful Conviction of Another?

  1. Docile Jim Brady – Columbus OH 43209

    Was there not an Illinois case with such a problem ?

  2. Hill also faces up to three years in prison and $100, 000, Ms Forman is a mail carrier – the traditional enemy of the neighbourhood dog.

  3. Inexperienced attorneys look at these motion hearings with little
    importance and shoot from the hip when questioning the officer.
    Your chances for a favorable outcome in your DUI case depend upon strategizing and preparing beforehand.

    These information may come from the office grapevine
    and may also be formally given by the Human
    Resource Department.

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