Skip to comments.Trayvon Martin: Attorneys say Zimmerman contacted prosecutor, Sean Hannity
Posted on 04/10/2012 5:15:23 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
The two men who have been George Zimmerman's most outspoken defenders, attorneys Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner, said today that they're off the case.
"On Sunday, we lost track of George, in that he would not return our calls," attorney Uhrig said. Said attorney Craig Sonner, "I've lost contact with him at this point."
The lawyers had been publicly representing Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, in the media as calls for his arrest continue to grow.
But they said Tuesday that Zimmerman who, they say, has left the state has stopped answering their phone calls, and has made a series of decisions that the two lawyers would not have advised.
The lawyers said Zimmerman called Sean Hannity of Fox News without consulting them. He also called the special prosecutor in the case, something the attorneys said they'd never have told him to do.
"We were a bit astonished," Uhrig said. He praised Special Prosecutor Angela Corey's office for declining to speak with Zimmerman without legal counsel.
Asked about Hannity's interactions with Zimmerman, a Fox News Channel spokeswoman said the issue "will be addressed on Hannity's show tonight." The show, "Hannity," airs at 9 p.m.
Uhrig added that he thinks Zimmerman is going through post-traumatic stress and is "largely alone...
(Excerpt) Read more at baltimoresun.com ...
The attorneys speculated about Zimmerman’s current mental state, based on his behavior in refusing to communicate with them. They did not speculate about his mental state at the time he shot Martin. There is no ethical violation in holding a press conference for what has been made into the biggest legal media story of the moment.
How about Martin’s attorney threatening the special prosecutor with “pandemonium,” i.e., riots, if she doesn’t file charges? In a media interview for a foreign news outlet, no less.
In this case, Zimmerman apparently had an agreement for these 2 lawyers to represent his interests in matters relating to the Martin shooting. Unless and until charges are filed, there is no ‘case’ but there surely are ‘interests.’
If there were a case filed in court, the attorneys would have had to file a motion to withdraw, setting out their reasons, citing examples. In this case, it would be failure to communicate. Courts don’t let attorneys just walk away from a client, the attorneys have to set out their reasons, and the court then has to allow the withdrawal.
Were there a case, the filing of that motion would instantly become a matter of public record. In the absence of a suit or charges having been filed, and nowhere to file a motion to withdraw, they held a press conference. They had already ‘entered their appearance’ in the court of public opinion. How else were they to withdraw from that court?
Attorney-client privilege doesn’t extend to the public information of the fact that said attorneys represent(ed) Zimmerman, or the fact of their withdrawal from that representation. Those are matters of public record. I would imagine it’s not much different from a pastor acknowledging publicly that someone belonged to his congregation but no longer does. Would that mean the pastor has breached his congregant’s privilege?
You are 100% wrong about both the breach of client confidentiality and attorney ethics.
They used to.
Not anymore. The cartels have guards on the border now to ensure that NO ONE crosses IN EITHER DIRECTION without paying a fee.
I am praying for Zimmerman.
That may be true, however the attorney is not free to state the reason for the withdrawal if it conveys any privileged communication (or lack of it thereof) or it can prejudice the client.
In this case, there was no "case" so there was no reason to submit any statement to the court. The representation in this case was purely advisory and ANY statement issued by the attorneys would have to be cleared by the client. In this case these lawyers have publicly prejudiced the interests of their client by revealing that they were not only withdrawing from the case, but that they were doing it because their client was either not following their advice or was not communicating with them.
These attorneys were not looking out for the welfare of their client, they were looking out for their own public image. The ETHICAL response to why they were withdrawing should have been "No Comment". Instead they publicly threw the blame on their client and left him hanging out to dry.
Non-communication is a privileged communication. The advice an attorney gives his client (such as "Don't talk to Hannity") is also a privileged communication. The fact that they revealed that their client was not taking their advice is as much a violation ethics as their revealing things he had told them.
BTW are you an attorney?
If so would you have done what these two did if your client did not follow your advice or was not actively communicating with you?
What one pays monthly to survive in the ghetto.
He could just dress up like OBL. Look how long it took to find him.
That's OK. Obama approved it , and he's the President.
They questioned his competence publicly. It is unclear that these amber lens chasers actually were his attorneys or have even met Zimmerman in person.
To state that someone is or isn’t a member of our church is not a matter of privilege. Were someone to withdraw, it would be up to them to state why. Sometimes I’m told their reasons, but even then it is best simply to say, “ask them”.
For pastors, the parishoner’s privilege of confidentiality involves spiritual or other counseling sessions. For a lawyer, it would be the difference between what you spoke to a client about regarding his case, and what you spoke about to an acquaintance, who also is a client, at a social event.
We've been handed an incredible opportunity here, boys.
See, this is the good part, boys. This is when the job gets fun! Ask... and you shall receive!
You play ball... we play ball. I knoowwww... you want the goodies!
Or... you can grow a conscience in the next five minutes and see where that takes you.
By the good grace of God I am not an attorney; however, I have worked with and for several over the past few decades and have some familiarity with professional responsibility. However, professional responsibility or “ethics” can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. What is OK in VA may not be acceptable in FL, and vice versa. In no jurisdiction is releasing ‘privileged’ information acceptable but I don’t see where the ‘privilege’ has been broached here.
You’ve put the cart before the horse re the advice you’re claiming these lawyers gave to Zimmerman. I.e., Hannity. They said they would have advised him not to ... not that they DID advise him, because he cut off communication with the lawyers before contacting Hannity AND the prosecutor. So that is taking as fact certain assumptions that are simply not true. And removes that from the ‘privilege’ which you’re claiming they violated.
How is their withdrawing and making public the reason “privileged communication (or lack of it thereof)?” What, exactly, is the ‘privilege’ that you’re claiming they’ve violated? An Article III court would insist that they give reasons and examples. But you would have them just walk away, quietly, from the loudest case in the public opinion court in which they’ve already made their appearance, and say “no comment?” They’ve been the contact point for Zimmerman with the public and the media? But, like Zimmerman, you’d have them disappear, leaving the public forum to Sharpton?
It’s not up to anyone except, perhaps, George Zimmerman to question the attorneys’ motive in stepping forward to represent him. Those who condemn them today thought them heroes when, in the face of the Sharpton/NAACP/MSM attacks, they stepped forward to take the unpopular position of defending George Zimmerman. I don’t know why they did it, nor does anyone else on this board. But if anyone was ‘left out to dry,’ it was these attorneys whose client cut off communication, then took it upon himself to contact a) Hannity and b) the prosecutor.
I really don’t care about these two attorneys, but I do hope Zimmerman gets his act together in short order and lines up attorneys with whom he will communicate, and not go off half-cocked as he’s done in the past few days.
By the grace of God I am an attorney and quite frankly what these attorneys did to publicly put their client in a bad light and to publicly state that they would not have advised their client to do the course of action he is taking IS a violation of ethics. After their representation had ended they were ethically obligated not to make any public statements about how they might have handled the case differently or what advice they would have given their former client.
If, by the grace of God you had become an attorney and then did what these guys did, then by the grace of God you just might have had your license revoked.
I think he's out of town with protection supplied by the special prosecutor and the State of Florida....because he's NOT going to be prosecuted.
So he may not need official attorneys right now....I'm sure his dad, da Judge, has many attorney friends in the profession protectively looking out for Z's well-being and safety wherever he may be....and pro bono, to boot.
Zimmerman needs to scrub his records clean, like our President did, and disappear.
If the leaks all over this afternoon’s news are correct, Zimmerman has more to worry about than the behavior of his former counsel.
I have never had an appreciation for showboat attorneys. But this is an extremely high profile case. They were ‘entered’ in the only ‘court’ that existed before the charges that supposedly will be filed later today. Because of Zimmerman’s own behavior they were forced to withdraw. They appeared before the court in which they were entered.
Since you are an attorney, how would you have handled withdrawing from such a high profile case under this set of circumstances? And would ‘no comment’ not have raised more questions about Zimmerman in a volatile, high profile case?
At this point I really am concerned about Zimmerman’s own well-being. Much was made of Trayvon’s youth, but George Zimmerman himself is only 28.
Thanks, that was good.
P-Marlowe - I agree with all you’ve said on this board.
xzins - There’s more to the ethical obligations an attorney owes to a “client” than the “priviledge” (i.e. not divulging client secrets w/o his/her permission). These guys are subject to discipline for their self-enamourment. IMHO.
This just in: Zimmerman will be charged with violating the city noise ordinance by discharging a firearm within city limits!
According to news reports the Prosecutor is going to have a press conf. at 6pm today to announce that there will be a charge/prosecution.
Of course there was a case. Once he’s under investigation there is a case (for law enforcement). Once he retains counsel there is a case (between the client and counsel). Ever hear of cold case? No arrests, no charges; just resurrecting an investigation (at that point).
They “acted stupidly,” but where did they violate an attorney-client privilege? Good grief, attorneys act stupidly in and out of court all the time; they screw up examinations; miss deadline; prejudice their clients, etc. But that may amount to MALPRACTICE, but it is not a violation of the attorney-client privilege (though it could be if, for instance, a confidentiality were disclosed).