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Columbia Law School

Criminal Law

1992

Michigan Law Review

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Ethics Of Criminal Defense, William H. Simon Jan 1992

The Ethics Of Criminal Defense, William H. Simon

Faculty Scholarship

A large literature has emerged in recent years challenging the standard conception of adversary advocacy that justifies the lawyer in doing anything arguably legal to advance the client's ends. This literature has proposed variations on an ethic that would increase the lawyer's responsibilities to third parties, the public, and substantive ideals of legal merit and justice.

With striking consistency, this literature exempts criminal defense from its critique and concedes that the standard adversary ethic may be viable there. This paper criticizes that concession. I argue that the reasons most commonly given to distinguish the criminal from the civil ...