A defense attorney has a duty to represent their client “zealously within the bounds of the law.” An attorney also must share evidence through discovery with opposing counsel. A defendant, as per the Fifth Amendment, has the right not to incriminate themselves. This right spans from a defendant not incriminating themselves during police interrogation, all the way to the courtroom and not requiring a defendant to testify against themselves. These basic principles of criminal law work in tandem to protect the accused and make sure they are “innocent until proven guilty.” The work of these two principles is essential in protecting the rights of the accused.
In a case of first impression for the Massachusetts, Commonwealth v. Tate, the SJC is to decide whether defense counsel disclosing the location of a jacket and gun used in the commission of an alleged crime to the prosecution was a violation of the duty to the defendant.
How did the defense attorney find out about the evidence?