I am a co defendant on a case with my friend. He's still incarcerated & I'm out on bail. We had court yesterday and his public defender was chit chatting with the DA about the case & the DA asked what her argument against him is... His public defender told the DA that he had made incriminating statements and has a drug history. This was done when the judge was not present or even the defendant. I just happened to be sitting close enough to hear it... Why would she do this? I'm confused & irritated.
Lawyers often discuss cases with opposing counsel. Figuring out what you can agree on and what you disagree on is an important part of reaching a settlement (or, in the criminal context, plea) agreement. So long as the discussion does not reveal work product or confidential communications, there is no ethical problem.
The more up front you are with opposing counsel, the more up front they will be with your representative. It's likely that the Attorney (public defender) saw a police report where he's read the incriminating statements, and saw a criminal history that showed a bad record. If both of the aforementioned circumstances are the case, the the Attorney would be misrepresenting information to another officer of the Court.
Attorneys sometimes concede on points that they know are obvious, to gain leverage in other areas. They may pretend to concede to test the reactions of the opposition. I would give the presumption to the public defender that they are acting in your friend's best interest because of their time committed to schooling, passing the bar and working in the trenches. Also, keep in mind that if you are a co-defendant, and your friend has a separate attorney, that your best interests may not the same. Instead of worrying about your friend and allowing this to disturb you mentally and/or physically, keep a sharp mind to focus on best outcomes for your own case, unless you have clear evidence that the public defender is purposely derailing your friend's defense with a specific motive in mind.
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