Disclosure Information to Prosecutor When Lawyer's Former Client Brings Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Claim July 14, 2010
Although an ineffective assistance of counsel claim ordinarily waives the attorney-client privilege with regard to some otherwise privileged information, that information still is protected by Model Rule 1.6(a) unless the defendant gives informed consent to its disclosure or an exception to the confidentiality rule applies. Under Rule 1.6(b)(5), a lawyer may disclose information protected by the rule only if the lawyer "reasonably believes [it is] necessary" to do so in the lawyer's self-defense. The lawyer may have a reasonable need to disclose relevant client information in a judicial proceeding to prevent harm to the lawyer that may result from a finding of ineffective assistance of counsel. However, it is highly unlikely that a disclosure in response to a prosecution request, prior to a court-supervised response by way of testimony or otherwise, will be justifiable.
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