News - Capital University Law School

Prof. Guttenberg Is a Resource on Criminal Law

6/16/2014  - 

 Thinking about a career in criminal law? If so, you should talk to Professor Jack Guttenberg. A recognized expert on ethics -- check out his book Anderson’s Ohio Law of Professional Conduct (with S. Becker & L. Snyder) -- and a former criminal defense lawyer, Professor Guttenberg was featured on two panels at the Federal Defender National Capital Habeas Unit conference in Cleveland on May 29th.

The conference, attended by federal defenders from throughout the United States, focused on cutting edge topics in death penalty cases. Professor Guttenberg spoke on the complex ethical issues raised by “difficult” clients and in the application of the Supreme Court’s 2012 Martinez decision on ineffective assistance of counsel. “All criminal defense lawyers face challenging ethical issues (from conflicts of interest, confidentiality, and duties to clients), but in the death penalty context these tough issues rise to a new level of complexity,” commented Professor Guttenberg.

Professor Guttenberg notes that “death penalty defense lawyers’ ethical challenges range from the client who wants to give up and commit suicide by state means, the client who is so mentally ill that they cannot make decisions on their own, to the client who is so angry that they push their anger out on to their lawyer and refuse to cooperate in their defense.”

Professor Guttenberg regularly presents on ethics issues to lawyers across Ohio and nationwide. “This conference gave me a chance to meld my past, as a public defender and criminal defense lawyer, and my present, as an ethics expert, to work with a group of amazingly dedicated lawyers who daily face difficult and complex issues in capital cases,” he said.

Interested in learning more about criminal law or ethics from Professor Guttenberg? He’s teaching Professional Responsibility in the evening this fall and Criminal Law during the day and is always open to talking with law students about these subjects.