Document Type


Publication Title

Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics

Publication Date



Chief Justice Warren Burger and two other federal judges initiated disbarment proceedings against me in 1966. The charge was that, in a lecture to a group of lawyers, I had expressed opinions that "appear to be in conflict with the Canons of Professional Ethics of the American Bar Association." The offensive opinions related to the criminal defense lawyer's conflicting ethical obligations in dealing with client perjury, based on requirements in the Canons of Professional Ethics.

While the disbarment proceedings were pending, the lecture became an article: The Professional Responsibility of the Criminal Defense Lawyer: The Three Hardest Questions. After four months of hearings and deliberations, the charges were dismissed. As shown below, however, the controversy continues four decades later, principally because of serious misunderstandings about of the constitutional and policy issues involved.



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