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Confidentialty crisis

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Lawyer confidentiality rules kept one man improperly on death row for 10 years and a probably innocent man in prison for 26, according to news that surfaced in January (in Virginia) and March (in Illinois). Daryl Atkins (sentenced to death in 1997) was the victim of probable prosecutorial misconduct, according to his co-defendant's lawyer, Leslie Smith, who said he witnessed the misconduct but could not report it because a lesser sentence for Atkins would have exposed his own client to greater punishment. In Illinois, Alton Logan was convicted of a murder during a 1982 robbery. However, shortly afterward, Andrew Wilson admitted to his lawyers that he was the murderer, but bar association rules prohibited them from revealing that. When Wilson died in 2007, the lawyers went public, and Logan's case has been re-opened.

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