LEO: Criminal Law - Fruits and  LE Op. 953


Criminal Law - Fruits and Instrumentalities of Crime.


August 21, 1987


An attorney representing a client accused of committing a crime with a

certain weapon was given the weapon by the client a year after the client

was arrested for the crime. Although the police had made no effort to find

the weapon prior to the time it was given the attorney, the commonwealth's

attorney requested the attorney turn the weapon over to the commonwealth's

attorney's office.


When a client delivers an instrument or weapon to his or her lawyer, the

client may expect that the instrument or weapon comes within the purview

of attorney/client privilege. Since the Commonwealth is aware that the

attorney is in possession of the weapon, delivering the weapon to the

commonwealth's attorney would not pierce the cloak of confidentiality

which otherwise surrounds the attorney's possession of the weapon. The

attorney has a duty to turn over the weapon, which is a fruit or

instrumentality of the crime, to the commonwealth's attorney. Before doing

so, the attorney has a duty to inform the client that he will do so. [

LE Op. 709 and LE Op. 551]


Committee Opinion August 21, 1987