Sunday, February 27, 2005
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) filed an amicus brief in the Arthur Andersen , LLP case pending before the United States Supreme Court. The brief, available here, focuses on the role of counsel and the effect of this case on attorneys. In the Summary of the Argument it states in part:
"This case places lawyers at risk of investigation, prosecution, and imprisonment for doing their jobs. When a lawyer represents a client in connection with a potential government investigation, one of the lawyer’s goals may appropriately be to prevent the government from developing evidence against the client. Within the bounds of ethics and the law, that is what lawyers do.
By expanding the definition of "corruptly persuades" in 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(2) to encompass legal advice directed to that end, the Fifth Circuit’s ruling will chill zealous legal representation, create potential conflicts between counsel and client, and undermine faith in the privacy of attorney-client communications.