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Committee on Professional Ethics v. Crary

245 N.W.2d 298 (1976)

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Committee on Professional Ethics v. Crary

Iowa Supreme Court

245 N.W.2d 298 (1976)

Facts

When Sue Evans Curtis had an affair with attorney William Crary, her husband secretly hired a private investigator to follow her. Crary represented Mrs. Curtis when she filed for divorce. During her deposition, Mrs. Curtis repeatedly lied about supposed trips out of town while Crary sat next to her and did nothing. After the deposition recessed for a day, Mrs. Curtis continued lying, and Crary still sat silently. Another attorney representing Mrs. Curtis suspected she was lying, confronted Crary, learned the truth, said, “She can’t just sit there and tell this story,” and immediately stopped the deposition. The Iowa Committee on Professional Ethics and Conduct charged Crary with violating the ethical rules by allowing Mrs. Curtis to perjure herself and for other incidents. Crary countered that the privilege against self-incrimination prevented him from having to correct Mrs. Curtis’s perjury because doing so could have produced evidence to charge him with criminal adultery. Crary also claimed attorney-client privilege protections. The committee issued a report concluding that Crary did not need to correct Mrs. Curtis’s perjury because opposing counsel already knew it was false. Noting possible disagreement, the Iowa Supreme Court held a hearing before issuing its decision.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Uhlenhopp, J.)

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