Lawyers are generally familiar with the ethical rule forbidding frivolous arguments, principally because of sanctions imposed under rules of civil procedure for making such arguments. Not all lawyers are aware, however, of two ways in which the prohibitions of frivolous arguments are restricted in both the rules themselves and in their enforcement. First, the ethical rules have express limitations with respect to arguments made on behalf of criminal defendants, and courts are generally loath to sanction criminal defense lawyers. Second, the term "frivolous" is narrowed, even in civil cases, by the way it is defined and explained in the ethical rules and in court decisions.
Freedman, Monroe H.
"The Professional Obligation to Raise Frivolous Issues in Death Penalty Cases,"
Hofstra Law Review: Vol. 31
, Article 9.
Available at: http://scholarlycommons.law.hofstra.edu/hlr/vol31/iss4/9