Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ethics Rule Changes Proposed In D.C.

The web page of the District of Columbia Bar reports:

The District of Columbia Bar Board of Governors submitted recommendations for
amendments to select D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct to Chief Judge Eric T.
Washington of the D.C. Court of Appeals. On June 12, the Board of Governors
unanimously approved the proposed amendments as recommended and set forth in the final report of the Rules of Professional Conduct Review Committee dated March 2012.

The proposed amendments affect the following D.C. Rules:

  • Rule 1.10—Imputed Disqualification
  • Rule 1.15—Safekeeping of Property
  • Rule 7.1—Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Services

The Board also recommends adoption of a new Rule 8.6—Disclosing Substantial
Exculpatory Information About a Convicted Person.

The Bar is requesting that the Court of Appeals delay the effective date of
any amended rules for at least four months after the date of adoption to allow
Bar members to become familiar with the proposed changes.

Members can view Proposed
Amendments to Selected Rules of the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct
letter to Chief Judge Eric T. Washington for detailed information.

Of particular interest is a proposed new rule (designated as Rule 8.6) requiring any lawyer (not only criminal prosecutors) who "knows of information that raises a substantial question about the innocence of a convicted person [to] disclose that information" to the court where the conviction was obtained, the chief prosecutor of the jurisdiction, the defendant's attorney and the defendant.

The proposed changes may be found at this link. (Mike Frisch)

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