In 1982, a security guard was murdered during a robbery of a south Chicago McDonald’s. Alton Logan was sentenced to life in prison for that murder. At the same time, two Chicago public defenders, Dale Coventry and Jamie Kunz, were representing Andrew Wilson, who was accused of murdering two police officers. Based on a tip, Coventry and Kunz suspected that Wilson was the actual murderer in the McDonald’s case. They questioned Wilson who admitted that he, not Logan, was the murderer. Because of their duties under the attorney-client privilege, Coventry and Kunz felt they could not reveal what they knew. Logan, therefore, went to prison an innocent man, they believed. The public defenders decided to write the story in a notarized affidavit and lock it in a box in case something should happen that would allow them to reveal what they knew. When Wilson died in prison of natural causes in 2008, Coventry and Kunz revealed their client’s confession. After 26 years, Logan was released from prison. At this writing, he is awaiting a decision by prosecutors about re-trying him for the McDonald’s murder.
a. Why does the legal profession expect lawyers to keep secret their clients’ confidential communications?
b. Had you been Coventry and Kunz, would you have revealed what you knew in order to immediately secure justice for Logan? Explain.