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NCJ Number: 69592 Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Defense Advocacy - Moral Dilemma and Ethical Quandaries
Journal: Pennsylvania Bar Association Quarterly  Volume:49  Issue:4  Dated:(October 1978)  Pages:492-499
Author(s): C E Singley
Corporate Author: Pennsylvania Bar Assoc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Pennsylvania Bar Assoc
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The moral dilemma and ethical quandaries of criminal defense advocacy are examined.
Abstract: The increased emphasis on procedural and technical defenses in criminal law and the spiraling crime rate present ethical difficulties for defense attorneys. Specific developments--the Watergate incident, the activism of the Warren court, the Vietnam War--confirmed traditional distrust that laymen have of lawyers. The image of the lawyer that emerged was that of an individual who was amoral, coldly pragmatic, occasionally mercenary, and devoid of any concern about public order and human dignity. Moreover, divisiveness between practicing lawyers and teaching lawyers contributed to the problem. The core of the problem is in the nature of criminal defense advocacy; it is itself a paradigm of moral dilemma. The ethical issues presented by criminal defense advocacy may be conveniently divided into three categories that are neither discrete nor exhaustive: (1) rules of nondisclosure, (2) trial tactics and courtroom demeanor, and (3) nature and scope of representation. For each of these categories, questions are presented which are typical of the Quandaries involved. Most of these questions present issues of major ethical import and can only be answered when honestly confronted and rationally considered in context. Footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Code of ethics; Courtroom decorum; Defense counsel; Defense counsel effectiveness; Misconduct; Professional conduct and ethics
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