Imagine yourself zooming along the highway at 90 miles per hour. Suddenly you see the familiar red and blue rolling lights—you have been caught speeding. A set of rules known as traffic laws dictate appropriate behavior on roads, and you have broken them. You could get a warning, a ticket, or even lose your license. Lawyers, much like drivers, must follow specific rules called the Rules of Professional Conduct. When lawyers break these Rules they face similar consequences; they can be reprimanded, suspended, or even disbarred.
But what happens when a prosecutor breaks the Rules of Professional Conduct? The Indiana Supreme Court recently addressed this issue. In the Matter of Hudson, the Court reminded the legal community that prosecutors are not immune from the Rules of Professional Conduct. In Hudson the Court held that the Prosecutor pursued a charge known to lack probable cause and failed to disclose information or evidence tending to negate a defendant’s guilt, and in doing so violated three of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Prosecutor was suspended from practicing law for 18 months.
Returning to our traffic hypothetical, suppose that you were actually obeying all traffic laws but you were still pulled over and charged with speeding. Then, at the hearing, the officer failed to mention that his radar gun clocked your car going the speed limit. Neither this hypothetical nor the Prosecutor’s behavior in Hudson promotes equal justice under the law.
When you hire a lawyer, whether to contest a traffic stop or the most serious of criminal charges, you should feel confident that your lawyer knows and follows the Rules of Professional Conduct. You should also feel confident that your lawyer will ensure the prosecutor is at least fair with you.
Do not hire any lawyer—hire the right criminal defense lawyer. Hire a lawyer who practices law the way it should be done.
Anthony L. Kraus
Criminal defense Attorney Kraus has nearly 30 years of experience in Criminal Law, Family Law, and Litigation. He is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association.
A PDF of this article can be found here.