The Massachusetts Bar Association recently signed an amicus brief in the case of United States v. Brian Augustine Joyce, asking the court to reject an attempt by prosecutors to disqualify Joyce's attorney, Howard W. Cooper, from representing him in his corruption case. The MBA filed the brief along with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Prosecutors allege that Cooper is entangled in Joyce’s attempts to conceal corruption and racketeering. Although prosecutors have stated in open court that they do not believe Cooper participated in any crime or fraud, the government nonetheless wishes to call Cooper as a material witness against his client, former State Senator Joyce. The brief urges U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to reject the prosecutors' motion because it violates Joyce’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel. It unnecessarily disrupts the attorney-client privilege and adds additional unnecessary costs and expenses to Joyce as Cooper’s client.
The MBA successfully fought back against similar attempts to disrupt an individual’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel during the 1980s when U.S. Attorney William Weld was subpoenaing upwards of 100 criminal defense attorneys annually to provide grand jury testimony against their clients.
Click here to read the amicus brief.