3 New Rules Every Criminal Law Attorney Needs to Know

new rules of professional conductThe following is a guest blog post by Garrick Byers, known as the Statute Decoder because of his facility in interpreting statutes and rules. He is the chairperson of the California Public Defenders Association’s (CPDA’s) Ethics Committee, and is a former CPDA president. He is a criminal law specialist and a frequent speaker and writer on criminal law topics, including ethics. He was a public defender for 33 years and is currently in private practice, handling criminal law appeals, writs, motions, and case consultations.

The new California Rules of Professional Conduct, effective November 1, 2018, use the format and much of the substance of the ABA Model Rules. Here are three of the most important changes for prosecution and defense counsel.

1. The most urgent change: prosecutorial discovery responsibilities (new Rule 3.8). The California Supreme Court adopted this new rule a year before the others, effective November 1, 2017, originally as an addition to current Rule 5-110. Paragraph (D) was added to require prosecutors to

[Disclose]…all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that the prosecutor knows or reasonably should know tends to negate the guilt…, mitigate the offense, or…the sentence, except when the prosecutor is relieved of this responsibility by a protective order of the tribunal;

Also added was Comment [3]: “The disclosure obligations…are not limited to evidence or information that is material as defined by Brady v. Maryland (1963) 373 U.S. 83…and its progeny.”

2. Communication with a represented party person (new Rule 4.2). Current Rule 2-100 bars communication without that lawyer’s consent only with a represented “party.” The new rule expands this to “person”:

(a) In representing a client, a lawyer shall not communicate directly or indirectly about the subject of the representation with a person the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer in the matter, unless the lawyer has the consent of the other lawyer.

Comment [8] says “This rule…is not intended to preclude communications with represented persons [during]…investigative activities engaged in, directly or indirectly, by lawyers representing persons whom the government has accused of or is investigating for crimes, to the extent those investigative activities are authorized by law.”

3. Requirement to cite adverse authority (new Rule 3.3(a)(2)). It has never been a good tactic to fail to cite adverse authority, but it wasn’t against the disciplinary rules until now:

[A lawyer shall not] fail to disclose to the tribunal legal authority in the controlling jurisdiction known to the lawyer to be directly adverse to the position of the client and not disclosed by opposing counsel…

Comment [3] adds, “Legal authority in the controlling jurisdiction may include legal authority outside the jurisdiction…such as a federal statute or case that is determinative of an issue in a state court proceeding or a Supreme Court decision that is binding on a lower court.”

Comment [4] says that this duty applies to “all lawyers, including defense counsel in criminal cases.” And that  “[t]he obligations of a lawyer under these rules…[is] subordinate to applicable constitutional provisions.”

These and several other reforms and changes require the criminal law bar to become familiar with the new Rules of Professional Conduct and adjust their practices accordingly.

For more on the new rules, check out CEB’s webinar The New Rules of Professional Conduct: Discrimination and Competence on September 25th at noon, in which Rules Revision Commission member Carol Langford will break down the new rules and tell you what you need to know to meet your ethical duties. And don’t miss Mr. Byers discussing the rules in CEB’s webinar The New Rules of Professional Conduct: What All Attorneys Need to Know on October 23rd at noon.

© The Regents of the University of California, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Highlights of the New California Professional Rules

new rules of professional conductThe following is a guest blog post by Merri A. Baldwin. Merri is a shareholder at Rogers Joseph O’Donnell P.C., where her practice focuses on attorney liability and conduct, including malpractice, State Bar discipline, ethics advice, motions to disqualify and sanctions defense. She is the former Chair of the California State Bar Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct.  She teaches professional responsibility at Berkeley Law, and is a certified specialist in Legal Malpractice Law. 

In May, after several rounds and many years of drafting, editing, and consideration, the California Supreme Court approved comprehensive changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct governing lawyers in California to take effect on November 1, 2018. These significant changes bring California rules more in line with the rest of the country.  Here are some highlights of the new rules. Continue reading

How to Write an Executive Summary for a Business Plan

business plan notes on tableWhether starting a business or transforming one, it’s important to have a written business plan. A business plan should start with an executive summary that briefly describes the business’s products or services, its market and competition, and its management. The executive summary can make or break a business’s pursuit of investors. Continue reading

CEBblog’s Popular Posts of 2017

ThinkstockPhotos-854289826Thanks for reading, commenting on, and sharing the CEBblog™ this year! We hope you find something useful and interesting in each of these popular posts from 2017:

Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy and healthy new year from all of us at CEB. See you in 2018!

© The Regents of the University of California, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Don’t Let Your Ethical Duties Get Lost in the Cloud

The following is a guest blog post by Perry L. Segal, an attorney and management consultant at Charon Law, Redwood City. Mr. Segal has over 25 years of combined experience in law and technology. He is co-chair of the California Council of State Bar Sections, special advisor and past-chair of the Law Practice Management and Technology Section Executive Committee, and a member of the bar’s Social Media Task Force.

Few technologies create more puzzlement and worry for attorneys than “the cloud.” Attorneys, quite reasonably, want to know how they can stay on the right side of their ethical obligations when it comes to using it. As always, attorneys need to practice in accordance with the standard of reasonable care and effort. But there’s a caveat: Attorneys will be charged with the standard of an attorney who is competent in the understanding and use of technology. What does this actually mean? And as a practical matter, what can an attorney do? Continue reading

5 Estate Planning Options for Out-of-State Real Property

As any seasoned estate planner knows, it’s crucial to learn of all your client’s assets before developing a comprehensive plan. This is particularly important when it comes to out-of-state real property, which may be subject to that state’s potential inheritance or estate tax if left unaccounted. Add the costs and headaches of an ancillary probate, and your client’s loved ones will be left wishing for a better way. Lucky for you (and them), there is!ThinkstockPhotos-456864991.jpg Continue reading

CEBblog’s Most Popular Posts of 2016

thinkstockphotos-607481982Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing CEBblog™ this year!

We hope you find something useful and interesting in each of the 5 most popular posts from 2016:

Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year from all of us at CEB!

© The Regents of the University of California, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Trial Logistics: 4 Things to Set Up Before Heading to Court

Any trial strategy should incorporate the mundane. Not only must you get to court on time, but everything you need to try the case also has to be there, at your fingertips. Here are four things you should consider and arrange for before you head to court. Continue reading

CEBblog’s Most Popular Posts of 2013

177448834Thanks for reading and sharing the CEBblog™ this year! Take a look at our most popular 2013 posts. Continue reading

What Are My Prospects on Appeal?

78321411We all wish we had a crystal ball to tell us how things will turn out on appeal, but the best we can do is look at the trial court’s rulings and evaluate whether there are grounds for appeal and how solid those grounds may be. Continue reading