skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 166140 Find in a Library
Title: Defend and Tell
Journal: ABA Journal  Volume:82  Dated:(December 1996)  Pages:64-67
Author(s): J Gibeaut
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 4
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the legal and ethical implications when attorneys sell their clients' stories to the media.
Abstract: Almost all States, except California and Virginia, have adopted versions of ABA (American Bar Association) rule 1.8(d), or its predecessor in the Model Code. This rule prohibits lawyers from obtaining literary or media rights to their clients' stories during a pending case, because such deals potentially can create a conflict of interest. The fear is that lawyers may make strategy decisions that are not in their clients' best interests. Disciplinary actions under the rule are rare, however. Research by the ABA Journal found only five instances, and these cases suggest that the offending lawyers are being treated leniently. Three of the cases resulted in suspensions of 1 year or less. Another ended with a reprimand. Legal observers speculate that disciplinary authorities may be hesitant to mete our harsher punishments for fear they may jeopardize an otherwise solid conviction on appeal, unfairly rewarding a guilty defendant by punishing the defense attorney. Courts that have dealt with ineffective assistance claims that involve media rights typically use the test set down by the U.S. Supreme Court in Cuyler v. Sullivan (1980). To prevail, a defendant who does not object to a potential conflict at trial must show that an actual conflict developed -- usually a signed contract -- and that the conflict adversely affected the lawyer's performance. In Beets v. Scott, the Fifth Circuit Court used a stricter test announced by the U.S. Supreme Court in Strickland v. Washington (1984), which also requires a defendant to show that a lawyer's deficient performance prejudiced the outcome.
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Attorney client relations; Legal fees; Media coverage; Professional conduct and ethics; Professional misconduct
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.