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Criminal Procedure

Fordham Law School

2016

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A Legal And Ethical Puzzle: Defense Counsel As Quasi Witness, Elizabeth Slater Dec 2016

A Legal And Ethical Puzzle: Defense Counsel As Quasi Witness, Elizabeth Slater

Fordham Law Review

The U.S. criminal justice system is built on the concept of an adversarial trial. The defense and prosecution present competing narratives to a neutral audience that judges whether the prosecution has proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt. In this context, defense counsel is expected to be a zealous advocate for the defendant, providing the most effective representation possible in light of the evidence presented by the government. However, there are occasions outside of trial where defense counsel’s traditional role changes and she is asked to disclose, not to the jury, but to the court, personal opinions and ...