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The Issue with Attorney-Client Privilege


Assume that a person has knowledge or evidence that another person is guilty of a crime, is the first person obligated to give this information or evidence to the authorities? What if the crime is minor, such as jaywalking or littering? What if the crime is major, such as murder or genocide?

This is where being a lawyer is ambiguous. Lawyers are sworn into secrecy because of their attorney-client privilege, where lawyers cannot divulge information about their clients unless it is to help defend their clients. This attorney-client privilege may hold true even if lawyers independently discover information against their clients.


Of course, a lawyer my recluse themselves from defending the client, however lawyers are not legally obligated to turnover evidence to the authorities. Lawyers are sometimes legally obligated to NOT turnover evidence to the authorities. The ambiguous dilemma is if lawyers are morally obligated to turnover evidence to the authorities.

In my opinion, anyone who has information to a major crime must tell authorities to prevent that crime from happening again. Of course, this is very subjective, as with all morality.

by Phil for Humanity
on 01/18/2012

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