Category: Ethics

  • Old-School Ethical Heresies

    JBD asked for an outline of my TMSL talk on avoiding old-school ethical heresies. “Ethics” training for lawyers usually focus on the disciplinary rules. But the disciplinary rules are law, not ethics. Sometimes the rules have nothing to do with ethics. Sometimes the rules provide no ethical guidance (so that what the rules allow is unethical). And sometimes what […]

  • Criminal Defense and the Societal-Good Heresy [updated]

    [Updated to include David Hardaway’s name, at his request.] A defense lawyer appeals his client’s second DWI conviction, arguing that the client should be punished for a first DWI because the State did not plead or prove the first conviction (which acted to enhance the class-B misdemeanor first DWI to a class-A second) in the […]

  • Lawyer in Possession of Illegal Recording

    When a lawyer has possession of an illegally-obtained recording, what is she to do? Not a new story; this is from 8 March 2011: Just before Duke’s first unsupervised visit, Dianna bought a small digital recorder online. Dianna unstitched a bit of her daughter’s favorite teddy bear—known as “Little Bear”—and stuck the recorder inside, stitching […]

  • Warning: 11-28-3 Lawyer Aloose on the Community

    More from lawyer James D. “11-28-3” Evans, III: …Let me give you the straight of it: this young girl, 11 years old…she was aloose on the community—I say aloose—she was allowed to be out and about the community in Cleveland Texas from about May until about December, and over the course of that period of […]

  • Witnesses Playing God

    [A] good-faith, case-by-case, consequential ethics approach should be used that balances the greatest good for the greatest number without trampling unduly on individual rights and each citizen’s constitutionally protected liberty interests. Sreenivasan, Frances, and Weinberger, Normative Versus Consequential Ethics in Sexually Violent Predator Laws: An Ethics Conundrum for Psychiatry, J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 38:3:386-391 […]

  • Mmmmm…Chicha!

    Houston DUI lawyer Paul Kennedy, in Going for the Gut, calls to our attention this Boston Globe article by Drake Bennett about how disgust may shape our moral judgments. A few thoughts: First, one of the experiments discussed: In one study, [psychologist Jonathan Haidt] had some of his unfortunate test subjects respond to four vignettes […]

  • A(n Ex-)Prosecutor’s Principles

    Quoth Vincent Bugliosi, in a comment posted by John Kindley: ‘Everyone is entitled to be represented by an attorney’ is the idealistic chant often recited by defense attorneys as justification for representing even the most vicious criminals in our society. The concept is unassailable, but idealism is rarely what motivates lawyers who represent guilty defendants. […]

  • More Great UTMB Ideas

    I've been thinking more about University of Texas Medical Branch's practice of renting out mentally ill prison inmates for cops to practice their phlebotomy against, and it seems to me that UTMB, TDCJ's medical services provider, is missing out on several other great opportunities to make money on the backs of "consenting" (consent is easy […]

  • They’d Have to Be Crazy

    "UTMB’s Correctional Managed Care program has an agreement with Lone Star College involving its Law Enforcement Phlebotomy Program. The participating Houston police officers at the units were there as part of the Lone Star College course they were taking. Having blood drawn is part of the standard intake process at TDCJ and mentally ill offenders […]

  • Means and Ends

    New second-career criminal-defense lawyer desperately in need of a mentor Joe Attorney writes: [Reptile] is not a technique I could comfortably embrace.  It suggests we should manipulate the more primitive emotions and parts of the brain to gain the desired result.  To me it suggests that lawyers should worry more about ends than the means. […]