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Criminal Procedure — ineffective assistance — attorney-client privilege

United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit


Criminal Procedure — ineffective assistance — attorney-client privilege

It was not error to permit a defendant’s former attorney to testify about the defendant’s attempts to solicit perjury.

“In this case, the lawyer’s testifying to his former client’s effort to enlist him in suborning perjury could not have violated Williams’s constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel. The lawyer was no longer Williams’s counsel when he testified; he had withdrawn as counsel and his right to do so is not questioned. Williams does not accuse the lawyer who represented him at trial (his original lawyer having withdrawn by then) of having rendered ineffective assistance of counsel. We can’t find any authority for holding that a lawyer’s actions after withdrawing from a litigation can give rise to a claim of ineffective assistance by a party he formerly represented—especially since, as just noted, a lawyer may be ordered to reveal information relating to the representation of a client by a court. If we ordered a new trial, the government could subpoena the lawyer to testify again.”


11-1002 & 11-1012 U.S. v. Williams

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Kapala, J., Posner, J.

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