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Friday, September 28, 2007

Attorney Admits Guilt in Church Pornography Case

Back in February we blogged about the case of Attorney Phil Russell, who was accused of obstructing justice by destroying a church computer containing child pornography. Yesterday, Russell pled guilty in a case that lawyers think will hinder their ability to represent people effectively. From the Courant:

After signaling for months that he intended to fight the charges, lawyer Philip Russell disclosed in federal court that he had reached a negotiated settlement with prosecutors. He then pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of misprision of a felony, which means he was aware that a felony had been committed, but did not report the crime to authorities.

Russell had been charged with obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence. He was accused of destroying a laptop computer after his clients, officials of Christ Church in Greenwich, found the computer and determined that it contained pornographic images of children. The computer was the property of Robert Tate, the church's former longtime choirmaster.

The problem here for lawyers:

The Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association argued that Russell learned of the computer's contents in a confidential conversation with his client, the church. To turn the computer over to authorities would violate that confidence [creating potential problems for Russell with the Bar]; to retain it would violate federal child pornography laws.

(Read the full story here.)

Not a good choice - ruin your career or be be prosecuted for violating child pornography laws! In any case let's continue to pray for Christ Church in Greenwich and all the persons involved.

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