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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 135000 Find in a Library
Title: Dilemmas and Disclosures: A Comment on Client Perjury
Journal: American Journal of Criminal Law  Volume:18  Issue:3  Dated:(Summer 1991)  Pages:319-332
Author(s): G Rutherglen
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 14
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article argues that the legal rules that govern client perjury and disclosure of client confidences should be structured to facilitate the power of attorneys to persuade their clients to testify truthfully.
Abstract: Possible attorney responses to a client's intention to testify falsely are withdrawal from the case, insistence that the client testify in narrative form (avoids attorney complicity in the perjury), and disclosure to the court of the client's intention to commit perjury. All of these alternatives present ethical and legal problems. If attorneys have sufficient tools to persuade the client to testify truthfully, then neither the legal prohibitions against perjury nor the client's constitutional rights to testify or to receive effective counsel are compromised. The legal rules that govern client perjury and disclosure of client confidences should allow an attorney to threaten the client with withdrawal from the case and disclosure of the proposed perjury to the succeeding attorney. The rules should require limited disclosure to the succeeding attorney when the original attorney withdraws because the client cannot be dissuaded from committing perjury. This limited disclosure would prevent withdrawal from becoming a self-defeating formality in which the client seeks a new lawyer solely to conceal the planned perjury. Under the existing rules on attorney withdrawal, such disclosure could not occur. 64 footnotes
Main Term(s): Perjury
Index Term(s): Attorney client relations
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