News Releases
September 15, 2022

SJC Hears Argument Involving Criminal Defense Counsel’s Ethical Duties


The SJC held oral argument last Wednesday in Commonwealth v. Edwards, a case in which the BBA filed an amicus letter. The trial judge dismissed the case with prejudice as a discovery sanction after the prosecution had turned over the wrong certificate of service for the restraining order against the defendant—this after trial counsel for the criminal defendant had avoided directly answering a pre-trial question from the judge about “any problems with service”. The BBA’s letter adopts the argument from a CPCS that counsel was obligated not to reveal the flaw in the Commonwealth’s case, and goes on to suggest that the Court offer guidance for trial judges on avoiding questions that “place criminal defense attorneys in the difficult position of having to satisfy ethical obligations to their clients and any perceived obligations to the tribunal.”