Segments in this Video

Murder Investigation (01:38)


Fred Friendly introduces a murder case study. John Barnes, an advertising executive murders his ex-girlfriend, Wendy Wright.

Seeking Counsel (05:16)

Charles Ogletree portrays Barnes and introduces the murder case of stock trader, Wendy Wright. He asks panelists for feedback on how each would respond to the murder as professionals.

Media Coverage (04:06)

Ogletree asks Scott Harshbarger, C. Vernon Mason, Anna Quindlen, and Antonin Scalia about the coverage of this type of murder. The media receives information from law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office. Most agree the public decides what makes interesting stories.

Advice for a Murderer (07:08)

Ogletree asks Willard Gaylin, Gillers, and Jack Litman whether they would turn Barnes in for the murder of Wright and about the advice they would give Barnes. Litman asks Barnes about the circumstances surrounding the murder.

Obtaining a Lawyer (07:00)

Ogletree speaks with Ellen Yaroshefsky, Mason, Scalia, Faye Wattleton, James F. Neal, and Gillers about the ethical decisions of taking a case. They agree lawyers can refuse cases unless they are the only lawyer available. No attorney has the ethical obligation to take any case otherwise.

Legal Ethics (09:55)

Ogletree speaks with John E. Smith, Litman, Wattleton, Gillers, Neal, Scalia, and Harshbarger about the ethics of accepting a case. Should the lawyer as a person or the lawyer as a professional take precedence? The panelists discuss attorney-client privilege, crime-fraud exception, and the ethics of accepting a case knowing the client is a criminal.

Ethics of the Legal System (02:25)

Lawyers are sometimes pushed to make unethical decisions because of attorney-client privileges. The system should not put attorneys in this predicament.

Admission of Evidence (06:55)

Ogletree asks panel members about the ethics of admitting Wright’s past behaviors as evidence. They question the validity and relevancy of previous behaviors. Wattleton and Quindlen state that blaming the victim based on past behavior is morally wrong.

Trial Sentencing (10:50)

Panelists agree that Barnes’ background is relevant to the case because it will help in the decision-making process. Hall and Duncan agree that with prior record, they would sentence Barnes to 10-15 years in prison. Shriver says there would need to be retribution for each life taken, no matter the circumstances.

Credits: To Defend a Killer (00:47)

Credits: To Defend a Killer

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To Defend a Killer

Part of the Series : Ethics in America
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



What rights do the guilty have? Ethical dilemmas of our criminal justice system are discussed by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, defense attorney Jack Litman, and philosopher John Smith of Yale.

Length: 58 minutes

Item#: BVL160431

Copyright date: ©1989

Closed Captioned

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