You are the court-appointed defense lawyer for a rape case of a 6-year old victim. Your client is unpleasant and in your heart of hearts you know he…

You are the court-appointed defense lawyer for a rape case of a 6-year old victim. Your client is unpleasant and in your heart of hearts you know he is guilty and he shows no remorse at all. Your client was arrested and charged for the rape based upon DNA from his semen, which matched his semen DNA in the government database from a previous case.

Prior to his trial, you are in the restroom at the courthouse and overhear a conversation regarding problems with the DNA lab and the lab director’s licensing credentials. Improper storage of DNA evidence and questions as to whether the director has a license or not will probably lead to all DNA case evidence being thrown out. This information has not been leaked to the media yet and information regarding this will probably be held until after the trial is over.

You realize that if you leak the information, your client who you know is guilty will get off. On the other hand, you swore an oath to defend your client with zealousness and if you bring the matter up, all you would need is reasonable doubt and he will probably get off especially since the victim is not able to ID him.

No one, to include the prosecutor, knows about the crime labs problems yet and when the information is exposed, your client will probably file an appeal and be free again to rape another victim.

Based upon the scenario given, use information from your readings, 5.1, 5.8 & 5.9 and other sources and answer each of the following questions and provide supportive arguments for your opinions:

1. Does legality and ethics collide in this ethical dilemma?

2. Do you think there are clients that defense attorneys do not work as hard to defend as they do others? 

3. How do most attorneys resolve the fact that they are defending guilty criminals who should never ever be set free? 

4. What are the limits of a zealous defense?

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