Professor Bruce Green was quoted in a New Jersey Law Journal article on the proposal to alter laws surrounding client confidentiality, specifically when it could affect someone that was wrongfully convicted.
Lawyers are divided over a proposed rule change that would require them to disclose information about wrongful incarceration of an innocent person.
A Supreme Court committee proposed on May 26 that the court should amend RPC 1.6 to provide an exception to a lawyer’s duty to maintain confidentiality of information relating to representation of a client when that information relates to a wrongful conviction.
New Jersey’s proposed revision is similar to rule changes adopted in Alaska and Massachusetts, although those states made disclosure optional, Green said. He said there was no evidence that the policy had any impact on attorney-client relationships in those states.
Green said he supports a narrow exception to RPC 1.6 allowing lawyers to disclose information that would help exonerate wrongfully incarcerated people after the person making the disclosure has died. “That’s less likely to chill candid disclosure. I kind of understand all the concern on the other side. It’s not always clear that disclosing the information is going to make a difference, which suggests at most it ought to be discretionary.”