The United States Constitution gives us the right of due process under the Fifth Amendment. The right to an attorney is something that should never be taken away. So how do attorneys help their clients? What standards are set to protect them? There are strict guidelines that attorneys must follow to avoid legal misconduct. These standards are stated by the American Bar Association in the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. It is very important that attorneys decide carefully before taking on a case for many reasons. They must remember that they have to carefully consider the needs and problems of their clients and uphold their ethical responsibilities to their profession and the criminal justice system. It is when a lawyer does not balance the needs of the client with the ethical aspects of his or her profession that misconduct can occur.
There are many different instances of legal misconduct by lawyers. This can occur in many ways. Pollock (2012) describes several different instances of what can cause legal misconduct. “The lawyer may not: Engage in actions or motions that will cause harm to others, conceal or fail to disclose that which he or she is required to disclose by law, knowingly use perjured testimony or false evidence, make false statements of law or fact, take part in manufacturing false evidence, or engage in illegal conduct” (Pollock, p. 252, 2012). Lawyers must make sure that they are following the ethical standards that have been appointed to them.
Since there are many different specialized courts within our criminal justice system, there are attorneys that specialize in certain areas of law. Family law attorneys often deal with secrets that are kept within families. These lawyers hear about domestic violence, sexual abuse, parental kidnapping, child abuse, and threats. This career field is often very stressful and attorneys must make sure that they do not become emotionally involved. The case that I chose to base this essay off of was not labeled with a case name, however it’s important to note that I retrieved it from the Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
An instance of legal misconduct is discussed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). According to the AAML, the legal misconduct by a Colorado lawyer came to light in 1996. The client of the attorney was a mother of a two year old boy and pregnant with another child. She was in a closure of marriage case which involved challenged custody of both her son and unborn child. Early on, there was a restraining order that prohibited either parent from taking the young boy out of the state of Colorado. Another important part of this case is knowing that there was a temporary custody hearing scheduled by the court. It would later be discovered that the court decided that both children would be in custody of their father.
What happened next? It was at this moment in time that the attorney took it upon herself to advise her...