Attorneys ditch woman who wrote children's book about husband she's accused of murdering

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Why would attorney’s just ‘nope’ out on a client like that? Inability to pay? Complete lack of cooperation? Innocence/guilt shouldn’t matter: their job is to insure that their client gets the best defense legally possible and that their rights aren’t violated, etc.


“Would you kill him in a park?
Would kill him for a lark?”,
asked Son-of-Sam-I-am.


There may be any number of legitimate reasons, I suppose. Maybe she was insisting that they pursue a defense strategy that involved something illegal or unethical? But inability to pay does seem like one plausible reason. From the article:


Did you kill him so you’d be rich
Did you try to with a sammich

I do not like drugs with my ham


A lawyer can comment? But I think if she had flat out told them she did it, they would be within their rights to refuse to represent her. And the results of that would look about like this: they wouldn’t say why, they just would refuse.


A quick google search gave me this short article at a law firm’s web site:

Basically, disagreement over pay or how to proceed are the most common reasons, but when dropping a client the lawyer will usually state that it’s about payment or a generic non-compliance to their contract even when the real reason is something else, in order to not adversely affect the client’s future case.


She offered them some tea?


watching arrested development GIF


Why would that make the difference? Real life defense lawyering bears little resemblance to Perry Mason; representing guilty people is a core part of the job.


I can’t speak to whether it should or shouldn’t make a difference. But I also expect it will make a difference to some lawyers, even statistically. Their free will, after all.


So in that context, not giving any reason could be shouting between the lines.


Lying to your attorney can do that pretty quickly


For public defenders, yes. For private criminal defense attorneys…there’s more leeway for attorneys to refuse to represent someone.

One thing that could have possibly happened is that she is demanding to testify on her behalf, and they know that she’s going to get on the stand and lie. The bar association rules say that if an attorney is in that position, and their client does go ahead and testify, and they know she lied, they are required to take remedial action, possibly including notifying the judge. Attorneys don’t like to be put in that situation. I’d bet money that’s what happened here. She’s insisting on testifying, as is her Constitutional right, and they know what she’s going to say, and they know it’s a lie.

ETA: Here’s the relevant rule from the ABA’s model rules, which most states have adopted:

Rule 3.3 Candor Toward the Tribunal

(a) A lawyer shall not knowingly:

(3) offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false. If a lawyer, the lawyer’s client, or a witness called by the lawyer, has offered material evidence and the lawyer comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall take reasonable remedial measures, including, if necessary, disclosure to the tribunal. A lawyer may refuse to offer evidence, other than the testimony of a defendant in a criminal matter, that the lawyer reasonably believes is false.


That situation is one the orange twatwaffle has put his attorneys in more than once.


That theory makes sense. “Lawyers refuse to continue working for woman they expect to provide false testimony” sounds more likely to me than “lawyers refuse to continue working for woman who is guilty of crime.”

There’s nothing inherently unethical about providing a defense for a guilty client, and I imagine even private defense attorneys often do that on the regular.


Oh absolutely.


especially in death penalty cases, if folks are of the “the state shouldn’t be killing folks” state of mind.

(i hesitate to say that, mostly due to crimes against humanity – norway famously brought back the death penalty to hang nazis then abolished again… but for a DV issue? when it’s so easy and so documented mistakes have happened? and due to the whole “do no harm” thing doctors not assisting, and a weird refusal to own the evil and painlessly use a guillotine or bullet to the head? not a fan of the death penalty, in a way that doesn’t slot easy into pacifist or other typical typologies, since i do think some people deserve it, but that’s like… death camp guards or war criminals, not a lady who may or may not have murdered her husband)

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My lawyer husband would laugh at the suggestion that you would withdraw representation based on an admission of guilt. If anything, the lawyers would be surprised and relieved if their client was that honest with them, since most people are understandably very protective of their shame. Even the objectively guilty (and thoroughly reprehensible) are entitled to competent, ethical, zealous representation under the law.

No, the only reasons my husband has withdrawn from a case is because a client was uncooperative. I don’t think he’s ever withdrawn for lack of payment, which isn’t to say that it wouldn’t piss him off. I think he’s sent at least one non-paying client to collections but usually he just writes them off. I remember one case where he withdrew from representing a client who wanted him to present sovereign citizen arguments. He wouldn’t do it because it’s unethical to provide representation you know is inadequate and that can get you in trouble with the bar. Ultimately the lawyer that did represent the client simply allowed the client to make a statement to the court based on that client’s imaginative understanding of the law, and then the judge sentenced him without considering it.


Sure, makes sense to me FWIW and fits in with some other theories so far.

So as one possible scenario, this particular client wants to go on the stand to tell her story because she is so sure she can convince everyone she’s innocent. And the lawyers are certain it will be a disaster, and/or knows that she will lie on the stand and get busted for it. So they have warned her against it. But in this hypothetical scenario she persists in demanding to testify, so the lawyers decide that representing her is not worth it to their careers.