Friday, August 12, 2011

Breivik's Attorney Seeking Insanity Plea?

Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer, has been making some demands of the police and Breivik's lawyer, Geir Lippestad, has been publicly commenting on those demands. News stories here, here, and here.

Lippestad said that Breivik has been making routine requests, such as for cigarettes and clothing, but has also made requests, for example, that the Norwegian government step down. Lippestad described those requests as, "unrealistic, far, far from the real world and shows he doesn't know how society works." Presumably, Lippestad is preparing the public and courts for an insanity defense.

It's interesting to think about Lippestad's behavior through the lens of US legal ethics rules. Are those public comments expressly or impliedly authorized by the client? Do they help or hurt? Would the client prefer instead that his lawyer publicly assert the sanity and resolve of his client (even if we'd find such assertions odious and offensive)? From all the press accounts I've read, Lippestad is a very highly regarded professional, so I do not intend to criticize him here. It just raises some classic questions about the attorney client relationship.

Read it all here.

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