Massachusetts State House.
Policy Library

U.S. v. Brian Joyce

April 01, 2018

The BBA filed an amicus brief opposing the government’s motion to disqualify defense counsel in the matter, who had represented Joyce prior to his indictment on various corruption and racketing charges and submitted answers to the State Ethics Commission in an investigation of Joyce’s potential misconduct. The motion to disqualify raised serious concerns across the legal community, the BBA brief echoes these concerns, asserting that the motion to disqualify should be denied on both Sixth Amendment and First Amendment grounds and warning that, if granted, it could endanger the rights of all criminal defendants to freely share information with an attorney, the attorney’s ability to make statements on the client’s behalf, and the expectation that an attorney will be able to represent their client through the entirely of their criminal justice proceedings.

While a separate brief expounded on the Sixth Amendment arguments, our brief acknowledged these concerns but honed in on another important issue: the First Amendment rights at stake, including the right of all attorneys to petition the government and to speak publicly on behalf of clients.