squiggy squigman retained attorney laverne defazio L a w
Squiggy Squigman retained attorney Laverne DeFazio to represent him on a federal bank robbery charge. The indictment charged that Squigman had robbed Milwaukee Bank on Shotz Street. The prosecutor’s case depended in part on photographic evidence obtained from hidden cameras in the bank. None of the photographs clearly depicted the robber’s face.
At their first meeting, Squigman told DeFazio that, at the time of the robbery, he was watching television at the home of his friend Shirley Feeney.
While reviewing the evidence, DeFazio noticed that one of the bank photographs showed the robber wearing a ring on the fourth finger of his right hand. Later, at one of their trial preparation sessions, DeFazio saw that Squigman had a ring on the same finger. DeFazio mentioned this to Squigman, and the following conversation occurred:
Squigman: So what? Lots of people wear rings on that finger and lots of rings look like this one.
DeFazio: Yours has a “B” on it.
Squigman: You can’t see the one in the bank photo clearly enough to see if there’s a “B” on that one.
DeFazio: You might be able to if they blow it up.
After the meeting ended, Squigman removed the ring and DeFazio never saw it again. In a subsequent meeting, DeFazio noticed a tan ring line on Squigman’s finger and said, “The DA may ask you about the ring line on your finger.” Squigman did not respond.
During the trial, but before he testified, Squigman asked DeFazio what he should do if the prosecutor asks him if he owned a ring with a “B” on it.
“If you insist on testifying, you have to tell the truth,” DeFazio said.
The night before closing arguments were scheduled to begin, Squigman gave DeFazio the balance of her legal fee in $100 bills. DeFazio noticed that the serial numbers on 14 of the $100 bills corresponded to the serial numbers identified during the testimony of a bank officer as the numbers on some of the stolen bills.
DeFazio returned all 14 of the $100 bills to Squigman and told him to bring an equivalent sum in other denominations. The following morning, Squigman came to court with bills in various denominations, which DeFazio accepted.
In her closing argument, DeFazio argued that the prosecutor was going after the wrong man and urged the jury to believe Shirley Feeney’s testimony confirming Squiggy’s alibi.
What standards of professional responsibility, if any, has DeFazio violated by her conduct in representing Squigman? Discuss.