Serving the Client by Ignoring Him?

By: Rubin M. Sinins, Esq.

Recently the New York Times reported on a troubling case where a Criminal Defense Attorney, in an effort to save a capital defendant’s life, ignored the client’s instruction and admitted his guilt before the jury. Lawyers on both sides argued whether this was permissible. The short answer is: No.

Attorneys are ethically obligated to comply with legal instructions from the client on fundamental questions such as guilt or innocence. If the client asserts his innocence, an attorney cannot state that he is guilty. This is notwithstanding the client’s poor choices. Indeed, the attorney in the Times article was attempting to save his client from the death penalty by acknowledging responsibility of the murder. The lawyer may believe that denying guilt would ensure a death sentence. But that is the client’s decision. So long as he is not asking the lawyer to do anything illegal, and the client is competent, decisions as to admissions of guilt are in the hands of the client.

Attorneys often feel that they know best, and oftentimes they probably do. But when knowing best and abiding by a client’s lawful wishes diverge, the latter must control. Lawyers’ effectiveness and role in the justice system are served by following the client’s instructions.

Samuel J. Perez Joins Javerbaum Wurgaft as an Associate in the Springfield Office

By JW Law

Samuel J. Perez attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey as a recipient of the James Dickson Carr scholarship and focused his studies on Political Science and Communications. After graduating from Rutgers in 2004, Sam attended Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey where he graduated in 2007. While at Seton Hall Law, Sam interned at the Union County Public Defender’s Office where he represented individuals that did not have the financial means to hire private counsel after being charged with a crime.
After receiving his Juris Doctorate degree from Seton Hall Law, Sam clerked for the Honorable Dennis V. Nieves, J.S.C. in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Criminal Part, Middlesex County. Since clerking, Sam spent many years working on cases from a variety of practice areas including municipal, criminal, family, workers’ compensation and personal injury. His efforts were recognized in 2017 when he was named as one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2017” in the area of personal injury.

As an attorney, Sam’s driving passion has always been making the law accessible to his clients. From the initial client consultation all the way through trial, Sam takes pride in dealing with all aspects of his cases as well as making himself available to his clients. Sam is conversational in Spanish and is an active member of the Middlesex County Bar Association as well as the New Jersey Association for Justice.

Javerbaum Wurgaft Welcomes New Attorney to our NYC Office

By JW Law

Javerbaum Wurgaft proudly welcomes Michael E. Morley Of Council to the firm.  His practice area has primarily included investigation and analysis of complex reinsurance issues involving a variety of long tail toxic tort claims, such as asbestos, silica, breast implant, pharmaceutical, and environmental pollution related cases. These claims typically involve multiple years and layers of reinsurance coverage and a variety of issues including interpretation of exclusionary language, allocation and aggregation issues, and reserving methodology. His clients have included both international and domestic clients who have sought cost effective expert analysis of claim presentations.

In addition to the investigation and contract analysis, Michael has negotiated settlements of numerous multi-million dollar reinsurance claims and has also participated as coverage counsel in numerous dispute resolution proceedings including reinsurance arbitrations and litigation.

Michael’s practice has expanded to include providing analysis, coverage opinions and dispute resolution regarding a variety of property and casualty insurance claims including construction defect, contractor liability, landlord/tenant claims, sexual harassment/discrimination claims, trademark infringement, false imprisonment, and a variety of first party property and casualty insurance claims.

Michael graduated from East Carolina University and received his J.D. from  Syracuse University College of Law and is admitted to practice law in Connecticut and New York.