There was a story posted yesterday in the ABA Journal, titled “Lawyer Reportedly Went Undercover in Drug Sting, Snagging Ex-Clients“:
Frank Pignatelli was facing a possible indictment as a co-conspirator when he agreed to work with authorities in the drug sting, according to a story in the Akron Beacon Journal. Now he’s representing drug defendants and other accused criminals in Denver.
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog says the story has raised hackles among some legal bloggers. But Mark Bennett of the Defending People blog says it is possible that Pignatelli’s clients were using him to commit crimes. “In that case, what they told him was not privileged, and it’s hard to sympathize with either him or them,” he writes.
As I’ve said before, one thing that people should take into account when retaining a lawyer is the moral fiber and character of any particular person. In my opinion, there are severe disadvantages to hiring one of these shyster lawyers who would slit your, or anyone else’s, throat if they thought they could make a buck at it – client or not. We all know who they are in our respective communities. Unfortunately, the nature of the profession seems to attract the type, and there’s no shortage wherever you go. I suppose these “clients” of Pignatelli got what they deserved.
Would you really want your life, or your case (or both), in the hands of someone who jurors can see through like an ice sculpture? Someone who a juror can look at, and say, “I really don’t trust that guy….” Someone who just talks a little bit too fast. Someone who gives you that feeling that your getting lied to…. Of course, it also doesn’t help build credibility with the jury if your lawyer was the undercover informant who busted you.
– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney