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In re Goebel

703 N.E.2d 1045 (1998)

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In re Goebel

Indiana Supreme Court

703 N.E.2d 1045 (1998)

Facts

William Goebel (defendant) represented a client in a criminal matter (criminal client). Goebel’s law partner represented a client in a guardianship matter (guardianship client). The guardianship client’s husband was a prosecution witness against the criminal client. The criminal client told Goebel that he was going to find and kill the guardianship client and her husband. The criminal client appeared in Goebel’s office and demanded that Goebel give him the guardianship client’s address. Goebel showed the criminal client an envelope that his partner had mailed to the guardianship client and had been returned marked “No Such Street.” The criminal client copied the address. Goebel did not report this incident to the authorities. Two days later, the criminal client murdered the guardianship client’s husband. When interviewed by the police, Goebel stated that he was afraid of the criminal client, the client had threatened Goebel and his family, the criminal client was pressing him for the address, and he showed the client the returned envelope to prove he did not know the guardianship client’s address. The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission (commission) (plaintiff) charged Goebel with revealing to the criminal client confidential information about another client in violation of Rule of Professional Conduct (RPC) 1.6(a). The hearing officer found that Goebel showed the criminal client the address on the returned envelope to dissuade the client from committing murder and therefore did not violate RPC 1.6(a). The commission petitioned the Indiana Supreme Court for review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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