For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 9

suicide was found in the criminal code, this Rule
provided for disclosure, but as states decriminalized
suicide, it placed attorneys in the unenviable position
of having no way to act to preserve the client's life
where he or she reasonably believed such action was
necessary without transgressing the boundaries of
the attorney-client privilege. As quoted by Carlisle
& Weiss, Judge Rosenblatt recognized the absurdity
of an "ethical oath of secrecy" which failed to "be
measured by common sense:" "if the ethical duty
exists primarily to protect the client's interests, what
interest can there be superior to the client's life
itself?"21
Ultimately, Carlisle & Weiss argued in favor of
non-disclosure unless the client was in the process
of committing an act of self-harm in the attorney's
presence. They argued that given an attorney's likely
failure to accurately assess the risk of suicidality of
the client, combined with the sense of betrayal any
client-especially an at-risk client-experiences at the
disclosure of what was expected to be a sacrosanct
confidence, that the attorney's "preservation of the
client's trust and confidence...may actually be the
only instrument for preserving a life."

The ABA's Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.6
was modified in 2002 in accordance with the changes
contemplated at the time of Carlisle & Weiss's article.
MRPC 1.6(b)(1) now provides that "[a] lawyer may
reveal information relating to the representation of
a client to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes
necessary to prevent reasonably certain death or
substantial bodily harm," removing any reference to
the commission of a criminal act.22 Both Pennsylvania
and New Jersey have adopted this approach.
Pennsylvania's Rules of Professional Conduct allow
"[a] lawyer may reveal such information [relating
to representation of a client] to the extent that the
lawyer reasonably believes necessary to prevent
reasonably certain death or substantial bodily
harm."23 New Jersey's Rules of Professional Conduct
protect disclosure of information relating to
representation of a client "to the extent the lawyer
reasonably believes necessary...to prevent the client
from causing death or substantial bodily harm to
himself or herself."24 Importantly, both rules are
permissive and do not require disclosure.25
One of Carlisle & Weiss's greatest concerns was
that unlike psychologists with training in recognizing

Vol. 4, Issue 3

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For The Defense

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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3

Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 1
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 2
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 4
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 5
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 6
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 7
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 8
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 9
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 10
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 11
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 12
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 13
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 14
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 15
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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 17
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 18
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 19
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 20
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 21
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 22
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 23
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 24
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 25
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 26
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 27
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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 29
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 30
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 31
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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 33
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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 52
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 53
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 54
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