June 05, 2005

One more change to make our job easier

I have a hard time imagining that anyone who actually, you know, represents people accused of crimes could have voted for this:

Good sense or bad counsel? Rule would make lawyers reveal clients' lies in court

A big change proposed to one of Washington's lawyer-ethics rules has criminal defense attorneys worried that they will have an even tougher time earning their clients' trust -- and worse, be forced to rat them out.

What exactly was wrong with the current rule?

...in Washington, lawyers can't knowingly offer false information in court, and they can't put their client on the witness stand if they know the client will lie. An attorney who later realizes a client has lied and can't fix it -- by persuading the person to tell the truth, for example -- usually asks to be removed from the case to avoid becoming part of the deceit.

What about the new rule?

It means lawyers who find out that their client has lied in court could be required to tell the judge. "It really destroys that sense of trust that clients need to have in their attorney... There's no reason to create this rift."