Investigative Deceit

Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 62, p. 1377, 2011

Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-15

22 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011

See all articles by Kevin C. McMunigal

Kevin C. McMunigal

Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Date Written: August 1, 2011


Is it ever ethical for a lawyer to ask or assist another person to lie on behalf of a client? Despite ethical rules categorically banning both personal and vicarious deceit, prosecutors routinely supervise police officers and informants who use deceit in investigating drug and sex offenses, organized crime, and terrorism. May defense lawyers make use of investigative deceit in criminal investigations? In this Essay, the Author examines this issue, the ethical rules bearing on it, and the recent trend in a number of jurisdictions allowing the use of investigative deceit by the defense. Drawing on his participation in a series of roundtable discussions sponsored by the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association, the Author canvasses the various arguments that are marshaled both for and against allowing criminal defense lawyers to use investigative deceit.

Keywords: Investigative Deceit, Legal Ethics, Criminal Defense Attorneys, Lying, ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Legal Ethics (Oregon), Legal Ethics (Wisconsin)

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

McMunigal, Kevin C., Investigative Deceit (August 1, 2011). Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 62, p. 1377, 2011; Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-15. Available at SSRN:

Kevin C. McMunigal (Contact Author)

Case Western Reserve University School of Law ( email )

11075 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106-7148
United States
2163683613 (Phone)
2163682086 (Fax)

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