The Green Bag
hardly anyfoneSvill deny that the ethics of the profession are undergoing an im provement and that a rule more satis factory than the American Bar Associa tion canon may be looked for in the near future. As a tentative expression of the highest ideals and traditions of the bar, we have the hardihood to propose the following rules which may perhaps not be so utterly Utopian as to merit the unqualified disapproval of our readers: In General. — An advocate has a two-fold function to perioral, as an officer of the court and as the representative of his client in the conduct, of a lawsuit. He thus owes duties alike to the court and to his client. When these two kinds of duties come into conflict his duty to the court takes precedence. But in view of the fact that his client has no right to demand of the court anything but impartial justice, the fulfillment of the advocate's duty as an officer of the court involves no breach of his duty to his client, and vice versa. The Duty of the Advocate to the Court. — As an officer of the court, the function of the advocate is not judicial, as he is in close personal contact with one of the parties to the controversy, and is more conversant with the circumstances of his client's tide of the case than of those of the oppo site side. Nor is his function that of a party to the dispute, as the ethics of his profession pro hibit the prostitution of his talents for fees. His function is rather that ot an intermediary between court and client, and his relation to the court is advisory or intercessory. An advocate is not bound to advise the court of anything which may aid the cause of the opposite party, that being the allotted duty of opposing counsel, but he is precluded from suppressing anything which may destroy or weaken his client's cause, and he is obliged to present the case with complete regard for the interests of truth and justice. He is bound to urge a fair, impartial view of his client's case upon the attention of the court, and to seek to the best of his ability to state the whole truth, rather than to present a distorted or fragmen tary statement of the law and facts. If the law and facts do not lavor his client's success in the controversy, his sole effort must be expended in preventing the imposition of unjust and excessive remedies.
The Duty of the Advocate to his Client. — An advocate is bound by his duty to his client to urge every point in his favor which he can con sistently with truth and justice, without invit ing the tribunal to pronounce a partial or one sided judgment, and he should give his client the benefit of any reasonable, legitimate doubt which he may entertain of the merits of his client's case, and present the case with as much liberality of view as he conscientiously can, that the decision of the tribunal may not be fore stalled or prejudiced when it cannot be clearly foreseen. An advocate is also bound to expose the weaknesses of his adversary's case, if he deems them of material importance, and to avail him self of every proper presumption which he honestly believes may operate to his opponent's disadvantage. He should first endeavor to master his client's side of the controversy completely and to present the case with all the sympathy to which the client may be entitled, and he should then work for as liberal a judgment in his behalf or as considerable a mitigation of remedy as the ends of justice may require.
PETITION TO HAVE GOVERNOR HANGED MANY instances have been cited wherein executive clemency exer cised on the strength of petitions from the people has been misplaced; but this was never more clearly shown than in a case that occurcd in Baltimore in the days of the "Know-Nothing Party," when lawlessness was rife. A youth, a member of a prominent family, had shot and killed a neighbor, through a window in his house. The youth was tried, convicted, and sen tenced to hang. As the day approached for his execution, a petition with many signatures was sent to the Governor; but one of the influential citizens of Baltimore, resolved that a pardon should not be granted if he had power to pre vent it, protested to the Governor. "But," replied the Governor, "see how strongly the petition reads, and how numerously it is signed."