August 15, 2011
Duty Of Defense Counsel When Client Wants New Attorney
A decision from the Maryland Court of Appeals explains a defense attorney's ethical obligations when the client advises the attorney he or she wants to discharge counsel.
From the headnote:
As an officer of the court, the lawyer who represents a criminal defendant is required by MRPC 1.2 to abide by the defendant’s decision concerning the services to be performed on the defendant’s behalf, and is prohibited by MRPC 3.3 from making a false statement to the trial court. When a lawyer has been told by a criminal defendant that the defendant wants to be represented by some other lawyer, unless the defendant thereafter consents to the lawyer’s continued representation, the lawyer is obligated to advise the trial court of the defendant’s wishes.
The court held that the defendant was not entitled to a new trial but remanded for consideration of claims not addressed below. (Mike Frisch)
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