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NCJ Number: NCJ 197080   Add to Shopping cart   Find in a Library
Title: Ethical Considerations for Judges and Attorneys in Drug Court
  Document URL: PDF 
Corporate Author: National Drug Court Institute
United States of America
Date Published: 05/2001
Page Count: 68
  Annotation: This booklet discusses the ethical considerations for judges and attorneys in drug courts based on a commentary on selected provisions of three American Bar Association (ABA) ethical codes: the Model Code of Judicial Conduct, the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and the ABA Standards for Criminal Justice.
Abstract: This study concluded generally that practitioners in drug courts need heightened ethical sensitivity in both the design of particular drug court programs and in daily practice, but the proper exercise of the roles of judge or lawyer in drug court need not conflict with the professionals' ethical obligations. Indeed, drug court practice has the potential to fulfill the highest aspirations of judicial and legal ethics. In applying the Model Code of Judicial Conduct to drug court judges, this study comments on the following five canons: A judge should uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary; avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of the judge's activities; perform the duties of a judicial officer impartially and diligently; conduct extra-judicial activities so as to minimize the risk of conflict with judicial obligations; and refrain from inappropriate political activity. The review of ethical considerations for lawyers who practice in drug courts examined whether this shift in lawyers' roles conflicted with the fundamental requirements of legal ethics as reflected in the ABA's Model Rules of Professional Conduct and further explicated in the ABA Standards for Criminal Justice. Of particular concern in this ethical analysis was the image of drug court lawyers as members of a team, which some critics view as a marked departure from traditional principles of ethical representation. The analysis notes that conflict between prosecutors and defense attorneys is not an essential ethical tenet of the attorney's role. Instead of starting with an assumption of conflict, prosecutors and defense counsel within drug courts begin their work expecting cooperation in achieving a common goal; i.e., reducing or preventing the defendant's further engagement with the criminal justice system by addressing the defendant's addiction to alcohol or other drugs. This shared goal underlies the team concept, but prosecutors and defense counsel maintain their distinctive roles within the team. The rules examined for lawyers pertain to competence, the scope of representation, diligence, communication, confidentiality of information, conflict of interest, client under a disability, advisor, meritorious claims and contentions, expediting litigation, candor toward the tribunal, fairness to opposing party and counsel, impartiality and decorum of the tribunal, trial publicity, special responsibilities of a prosecutor, truthfulness in statements to others, and communicating with a person represented by counsel.
Main Term(s): Drug Courts
Index Term(s): Prosecutors ; Judicial conduct and ethics ; Attorneys ; District attorneys ; Attorney client relations ; Professional conduct and ethics ; NIJ grant-related documents
Sponsoring Agency: US Dept of Justice
Office of Justice Progams
Drug Court Programs Office
United States of America
Grant Number: 1999-DC-VX-K001
Sale Source: National Drug Court Institute
1029 N. Royal St, Suite 201
Alexandria, VA 22314
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Country: United States of America
Language: English
Note: Dataset may be archived by the NIJ Data Resources Program at the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data
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