The Ethics of Pretextual Investigations

An old question - whether an attorney may ethically assume a false persona in conducting a factual investigation - has been getting a lot of ethical ink lately.

In Colorado, most attorneys are familiar with the unfortunate case Mark Pautler (Peoplev. Pautler, 47 P.3d 1175 (Colo. 2002)). On June 8th, 1998, Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Pautler arrived at a grisly crime scene. Three women lay murdered, their skulls cleaved by blows from a wood splitting maul. Surrounded, the killer, William Neal, told authorities he would not surrender without speaking to legal counsel.

Continue Reading.