Project #93339 - Ethics and Moral in Criminal Justice


Module 6:  Legal Ethics—Defense Counsel






  • FRAME an understanding of the lawyer-client privilege as found at the American Bar Association Model Code of Professional Responsibility, 1980, Cannon 4 and its impact on defense counsel decision making




  • OUTLINE the bases upon which defense counselors can act as virtuous professionals within the context of his/her four professional relationships identified in Chapter 14




  • PROPOSE the bases upon which defense counselors can act as virtuous professionals within the context of his/her seven professional obligations identified in Chapter 14




Lessons and Activities-TEAM PROJECT




  1. Read Chapter 14 and review relevant lecture notes and power points.

  2. Review the web links to lawyer-client privilege

  3. Read the scenario below.




(In reviewing the scenario, keep in mind that defense counsel is charged with keeping the secrets and confidences of his client. Commonly known as the lawyer-client privilege, it is found at the American Bar Association Model Code of Professional Responsibility, 1980, Cannon 4. A remarkably similar privilege is also claimed by other professional groups (e.g., clergymen, accountants, physicians, and other health professionals). However, the claim made by these groups is based in statute; the lawyer-client privilege is founded in the Sixth Amendment right to counsel—unlike any other profession. Therefore, interestingly, the lawyer-client privilege has a constitutional dimension. The purpose of the privilege is to promote candor between the lawyer and the accused. The assumption is that without total candor, the defense counsel cannot adequately defend his/her client, because without such candor, the client would not be completely truthful with his/her lawyer. Moreover, an attorney is expected to provide a zealous, passionate, legal, and ethical defense for his client’s interests.  Nonetheless, defense counsel is also an officer of the court.)






A twelve-year-old girl, Victoria Secrest, has been reported missing. In a pro-bono assignment, you have been tasked by the judge at arraignment to defend a client, Ima Knutt, who police believe is connected to the girl’s disappearance. Your client is a local private school coach for the girls’ basketball and volleyball teams. Earlier last year, Knutt had been disciplined by his employer, St. Beneficence Academy for “intimate advances” on at least one of his students, Victoria Secrest, and for possessing child pornography on his school computer. The school handled the case informally, mediating an agreement between Secrest’s parents and Knutt whereby Knutt was suspended without pay for a semester, terminated as a coach, but retained as a teacher. The evidence against your client is sufficient for probable cause, but far from proof beyond a reasonable doubt.  And without a break in the case against your client, Knutt might “walk.” However, in the course of your representation of Knutt, he inadvertently implies to you the location of Secrest’s body--or what’s left of it. It is in landfill in another state 300 miles from the site of the girl’s kidnapping.  To further purge his own guilty feelings, he babbles to you that he sodomized her and cut her body into pieces, some of which he had eaten. Further, Knutt sniffles the whereabouts of the chain saw he used to butcher the victim.  In the meantime, the parents of the little girl are in the media begging for information from anyone who may be able to help the police locate their daughter. You are also the parent of a teenage daughter and therein you empathize with the parents. The police investigation would be at a standstill, except that they have only very recently located and interviewed a homeless parolee with a record of child-sexual molestation. Along with your client, he also appears to be a suspect of interest and the” scuttle-butt” around the courthouse is that Judge Mea B. Fair will issue a warrant to the police for his arrest tonight. You decide to resign from the case, but the judge refuses your request.  Now you ponder whether to divulge your client’s admissions and to whom.




Assignment: In the Module 6 Drop Box, each team leader will post his team’s responses to the below questions in the form of a list or essay. No PPTs please. List only those team members who participated in the exercise; those who did not will receive a zero for the assignment.




  1. Review, list, and briefly explain “exceptions to the lawyer-client privilege” and determine whether this scenario constitutes one of them.  Cite your sources. (25 pts)


  • Excellent—Lists and explains at least four exceptions= 23-25 points

  • Good—Lists and explains at least three exceptions= 20-22 points

  • Satisfactory—Lists and explains at least two exceptions= 15-19 points

  • Developing—Lists and explains less than two exceptions=  < 15 points




  1. As a defense lawyer and virtuous professional, what do you do in this case? Provide a thorough justification for your action by basing that justification on:




  1. Your four professional relationships  (20 points) and


  • Excellent—Justifies actions based on all four professional relationships=18-20 points

  • Good—Justifies actions based on at least three professional relationships= 16-17 points

  • Satisfactory—Justifies actions on at least two professional relationships=12-15 points

  • Developing—Justifies actions on fewer than two professional relationships= < 12 points




  1. Your seven professional obligations (35 points)




  • Excellent—Justifies actions based on all seven professional obligations= 31-35 points

  • Good—Justifies actions based on at least five professional obligations= 28-30 points

  • Satisfactory—Justifies actions based on at least three professional obligations= 21-27 points

  • Developing—Justifies actions based on fewer than three professional obligations= 21 points






Total:  Maximum of 80 points for the entire exercise




  • Excellent—72-80 points

  • Good—64-71 points

  • Satisfactory—48-63 points

  • Developing— < 48 points




DUE DATE: Team leader must post in Module 6 Drop Box NLT 2000 hours, 19 Nov




Subject Philosophy
Due By (Pacific Time) 11/17/2015 09:00 am
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