How do "deals" with the law work?

I like reading crime novels, so much of the info I get is not right obviously,

Like in on book, the crims hide money in a grave and it’s in the early 70s, so now the money in the USA has changed. Sure they COULD spend it but the money would be easily traced as it was from a robbery.

So the guys in the book, try to cut a deal, they will tell where the money is, (it’s been over 30 years) IF they get some of it. Otherwise they just will let it be.

Now they go to a lawyer, my question was, when people have deals how can they go to a lawyer and admit they know things and then tell the lawyer and no one is responsible.

I realize there is lawyer/client priviledge but seems in real life there would be ways of getting around this?

In the U.S. legal system, this privilege is sacred. I can go to my lawyer and tell him that I killed Jon Benet Ramsey and have pics as proof, and not only can he not tell anyone, but if he does, it couldn’t be used against me.

It’s because we have a constitutional right to counsel, and such a right would be pretty well useless if everything we said to the lawyer was subject to be aired in court or used against us.

Now, this novel your reading probably plays fast and loose with some things…

Right. You can tell your lawyer about anything you’ve done and he can’t break privilege. However if you tell your lawyer about something you’ll do (ie “I’m going to kill my neighbor”) privilege doesn’t apply.

Though in a case like this could the lawyer themselves be legally liable ? If they are negociating, not just to keep the guy out of prison, but to make sure he gets the cash ? Does his status as a lawyer protect him from conspiracy or extortion charges ?

Maybe I’m being dumb… But surely his plan to convince the authorties to let him go and keep part of his money, is a crime of sorts. And at the point when he explains it to the lawyer it hasn’t happened yet. And hence this would apply ?

What is the statute of limitations for robbery? It would seem likely that the criminal couldn’t be charged with a 30-year-old crime.

It would vary from state to state, obviously, and a quick look shows that some states don’t have it.

Apparently, if the lawyer has absolute, undeniable proof that you’ve committed the crime, they’re supposed to recuse themselves from continuing the case. However, if they simply suspect, or have good reason to believe you committed the crime, with any smidgen of doubt, then they can go ahead and continue to defend you. That being said, anyone who goes against attorney/client privilege has a good chance of being disbarred.

This from a friend of mine who recently graduated law school. IANAL, and I assume a lawyer will be along to correct me if I’m wrong.

Any British lawyers around? Do we have the same protection in the UK? (It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if we don’t, so many traditional English liberties have been eroded, surviving only on the other side of the Atlantic. Double jeopardy, etc.)

I’ve never heard of this, at least in the U.S. I do know that most criminal lawyers will not ask their clients if they actually committed the crime or not because this allows them a larger area of argument.

A lawyer cannot say something in court that he KNOWS to be untrue. So if I told him that I killed JonBenet Ramsay, for example, he can’t argue in his closing argument that " I know jtgain, and the guy just doesn’t have it in him to kill a young girl!!!" because he knows that such a statement is false.

OTOH, if I didn’t tell him one way or the other, he could make this argument.

Your friend may want to take some remedial courses. Lawyers are certainly free to defend clients that they know for a certainty are guilty. What your friend may have been thinking about was conduct at trial. If a lawyer has a client that s/he knows is guilty, and the client intends to take the stand at trial and say s/he’s innocent, the lawyer can’t ask the client questions when he knows that the client is going to lie. That’s called “suborning perjury.” The client will then testify “in the narrative,” meaning that s/he will simply take the stand and tell the story, without being questioned by their own lawyer.

Important caveat there; a lawyer couldn’t make that exact argument in either case because it’s a personal comment on the weight of the evidence, just like a prosecutor can’t tell the jury in closing argument “ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been doing this for thirty years and I’ve never seen a more guilty defendant!” You’re right about the general rule that the defense lawyer isn’t to base argument on perjured testimony in closing, though.

You mean does a duty of confidentiality exist between solicitors in the UK and their clients? Yes, - Rule 4.01 of the Solicitor’s Code of Conduct.

There are several exceptions, but as can be seen from this link (scroll down to para.10 of the guidance notes), they’re pretty narrowly drawn.

However, as a solicitor you’re also an officer of the court and cannot “knowingly or recklessly mislead the court” (Rule 11.01). So, if your client’s told you they murdered JonBenet Ramsey, you can’t question them about it in court if you know they’re going to lie. In fact, you can’t let them get give evidence at all if you know they’re going to commit perjury.

If it comes down to your client trying to force you to mislead the court, or if you know they have committed perjury and refuse to admit it to the court, then you have to stop acting for them, it’s as simple as that.

But even if they’re no longer your client the duty of confidentiality remains. You can’t stop acting for someone halfway through a trial and then go to a judge, the police, the media, the victim’s family, your family or anyone and say, “I know he did it, he told me”. The privilege lasts indefinitely, as far as I’m aware.

Could your lawyer negotiate a deal for partial restitution if the complainants drop the charges? For example, I’ve embezzled $1,000,000 from my employer(hypothetically). When caught, I say to my lawyer that I still have it, but it’s hidden in a way that makes it virtually impossible for it to be recovered in the normal course of events, but through my lawyer I’ll return, let’s say, $750,000 if they drop the charges.

Could the lawer participate in the transfer of admittedly stolen monies, or does that constitute a criminal act?