More than 100 high school students from across lower Michigan will gather February 17-18 at the University of Michigan for the fifth annual Michigan High School Ethics Bowl. The winner will represent Michigan in the National High School Ethics Bowl held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in April. The Ethics Bowl is organized by A2Ethics, the University of Michigan Department of Philosophy Outreach Program and the high school faculty coaches in the High School Ethics Bowl League. During the two-day competition, judges evaluate teams’ responses to case studies written by local community members.
See? There is hope!
Here are the case studies the students will analyze, fifteen of them. I may do posts on a few of them suggestions are welcome. One of them, #2, I have discussed in several legal ethics seminars:
The Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct forbid lawyers from revealing information received in confidence (information protected by the “lawyer-client privilege” of a client), and similarly from using that confidential information for the advantage of a third person, unless the client consents.
You are a lawyer whose practice is focused almost exclusively on criminal defense. You have been active in the criminal defense bar association for several years, and you represent criminal defendants at both the trial and appellate (appeals court) levels.
One of your clients, Gilbert, age forty, is in prison for murdering a woman named Alice. You represent Gilbert in the appeal of his conviction and life-without-parole sentence. During confidential meetings with Gilbert, he confesses to you that he also murdered Bob, and he acted alone when he did. Although you were not involved with the case of Bob’s murder, you are somewhat familiar with it and know that a man named Enrique was convicted of Bob’s murder and is consequently serving a sentence of life without parole. Enrique’s conviction and sentence were recently reaffirmed after a thorough, years-long appeals process. Unless new evidence comes to light, he will not be able to appeal again.
After you are unsuccessful in challenging Gilbert’s conviction and sentence for Alice’s murder, you speak with him about Bob’s murder. He repeats his confession, this time in more detail, but refuses to consent to your request to reveal the confession on Enrique’s behalf.