Professional Ethics

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Professional Responsibility & Legal Ethics
Date: August 9, 2012

Relevant Facts:
Stewart retained services of Careful and Cautious, LLP to help with his legal help. Stewart told his attorney, James Careful, that he was behind 6 murders that happened in 2009. James called the police and reported the conversation that he had with his client, Stewart. Because of this, Stewart was arrested and put on trial and was found guilty of six counts of capital murder.

Issue Presented:
The issue in this case is whether the use of James Careful’s information and testimony regarding his conversation with Stewart, violated Stewart’s rights.

Applicable Law:
Attorney–client privilege is a legal concept that protects certain communications between a client and his or her attorney and keeps those communications confidential. To assert the attorney-client privilege a defendant must show that he had an attorney-client relationship with the attorney. United States v. Martin, 278 F.3d 988 (9th Cir. Cal. 2002) The fact that a person is a lawyer does not make all communications with that person privileged. Because it impedes full and free discovery of the truth, the attorney-client privilege is strictly construed. The several elements of the privilege are described this way: (1) When legal advice of any kind is sought (2) from a professional legal adviser in his or her capacity as such, (3) the communications relating to that purpose, (4) made in confidence (5) by the client, (6) are, at the client's instance, permanently protected (7) from disclosure by the client or by the legal adviser (8) unless the protection be waived. The burden is on the party asserting the privilege to establish all the elements of the privilege. United States v. Martin, 278 F.3d 988 (9th Cir. Cal. 2002)

The attorney-client privilege does not extend to communications made to a lawyer to further a criminal purpose. When a lawyer's advice is sought to further a crime or fraud, those...
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