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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 26822
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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Is it legal to withhold evidence from your attorney and prosecutor

Customer Question

is it legal to withhold evidence from your attorney and prosecutor until court has started? Let say you were charged with a crime you had nothing to do with and had no knowledge of it. Lets also say... a Police officer that had nothing to do with this case is caught smoking a joint in the police car while on duty and the police force never arrested him, charged him, went to court or was even fined....more or less...a cover up to protect the badge. Where does the creditability fall in court. 2 different crimes about 4 to 6 months apart. Do i have to share this information to the courts and my attorney or can i just put it out there in court and expose the lack of creditbility of the police force during the court trial. I do realize that the information that you share with your attorney also has to be shared with the prosecutor and thats why i ask. If i don't share this with my attorney....then the prosecutor as well as the judge and my attorney is all blind sided. I'm not considered an officer of the courts so I think i should not have to follow the courts rules in presenting evidence.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 2 years ago.
My name is ***** ***** I will be assisting you with your question.
Whatever makes you think that what you tell your attorney must be shared with the prosecutor? All conversations with your attorney are subject to the attorney/client privilege. If you don't want the state to know something, you can tell him to keep it in confidence.
Regardless of that, however, as you are planning on telling the court and the prosecutor about this anyway, why wouldn't you want your attorney to know and for him to make the disclosure in the best possible way to maximize your results? Done correctly, this case may not have to go to trial at all, assuming your attorney can substantiate your allegations. And if it does get to trial you'd want your lawyer to be fully prepared to challenge the officer's credibility on the stand.
As a seasoned criminal defense attorney I can tell you that last minute surprises by defendants can cost you your case, because it can negatively effect the entire strategy your lawyer has worked towards to try to secure you an acquittal. You do yourself no favor keeping significant information from your own attorney.