I've been at a Professional Responsibility seminar the past 2 days. Overall, I don't think the seminar was too relevant for the public defender (I mean, seriously, there's little chance of me mingling my clients' trust accounts.) But there are a few points I'd like to make.
First, they said we should call our clients back within 24 hours. I wonder if this includes clients' girlfriends, wives, and baby mommas. And, also, is that 24 business hours? Because it is very rarely necessary that I call my clients on the weekends. One of the speakers also suggested bringing your messages home and calling your clients in the evening - under the theory that they'll keep the conversations short when you're impeding on their private time (as opposed to calling them at their office?). One, I'm not taking the chance that my client has caller ID, I'm not calling any accused criminal from my home. Two, private time? My clients don't have private time. They live in the projects where the police can knock on their door and search their homes at any time. Private time? Ha.
Second, and this was the only topic where they used a criminal law example, they talked about preventing your client from perjuring themselves. The example, as always, was, "You know your client is going to make up some 'I didn't do it' story, do you let him testify?" The teaching point was that you should have discussed your clients' story with him so many times that you know what's true. First, I'm not a machine, I'll never know for sure whether a client is lying or not. I've had doubts about a client's story when it's turned out to be true, I've believed a client's story that's turned out to be crap. Further, though, I wish I had the luxury to speak to my clients at greater length before trial, but I just don't.
Then I noticed that when they teach this hypothetical, they never put it in terms of "You're a prosecutor, and you know your cop is lying..." they always ask about criminal defendants.
And, then I had big moment of revelation: That's why the D.A.s don't talk to their cops before the trial. Because they don't want to know if they're going to lie. That way they can always stay within the Rules of Professional Conduct. And that's why the prosecutor gets away with letting her cop "testi-lie," and yet it's always the criminal defendant used in the perjury hypothetical. Am I right, or am I right?
I'm sure there was more I wanted to say about this seminar. If I think of it, I'll have to add it later... I've got baseball to watch right now.