Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Did Zimmerman's attorneys violate ethics rules?

The press conference by Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig attorneys for George Zimmerman may have violated the Florida Rules of Professional Responsibility.  Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin.
Florida: Rule 4-1.6 [2] [4]
The observance of the ethical obligation of a lawyer to hold inviolate confidential information of the client…
A fundamental principle in the client-lawyer relationship is that the lawyer maintain confidentiality of information relating to the representation. The client is thereby encouraged to communicate fully and frankly with the lawyer even as to embarrassing or legally damaging subject matter.
The lawyers divulged the following information:
1) Zimmerman telephoned the special prosecutor who's trying to put together a criminal case against him, and he called Shaun Hannity of Fox News.

2) The attorneys also expressed concern about Zimmerman's "emotional and physical safety" and said he may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

3) "We have a pretty good idea where he (Zimmerman) is," Uhrig said, but added that Zimmerman is not answering the phone. The attorneys said they thought Zimmerman was still in the United States, but not likely in Florida.
The disclosure that Zimmerman sought out the special prosecutor or media outlets may be fair game for news reporters, and the content of his conversations not protected by any privilege, but not fair game for his lawyers. It gives the impression of instability or a willingness to make some statement of admission or denial. Such statements may prejudice the jury pool.
Talking about Zimmerman’s mental or emotional state certainly appears to be a disclosure of critical observations and assessments of Zimmerman’s defense. Disclosing that Zimmerman has left the state creates a legitimate impression that Zimmerman is a flight risk and flight may indicate consciousness of guilt.

To read more: http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/10/11124992-george-zimmermans-attorneys-withdraw-from-trayvon-martin-case?lite&google_editors_picks=true

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