These summaries were prepared by McGuireWoods LLP lawyer Thomas E. Spahn. They are based on the letter opinions issued by the Virginia State Bar. Any editorial comments reflect Mr. Spahn's current personal views, and not the opinions of the Virginia State Bar, McGuireWoods or its clients. 
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27-Litigation Tactics (Including Misrepresentations, Tape Recordings)


51-Government Attorneys

Determining if a Commonwealth's Attorney's statements to a newspaper reporter about a pending case constitutes a danger of interfering with the fairness of a trial by jury raises a legal question beyond the Bar's jurisdiction. If a "finder of fact" ultimately determines that the statements did constitute such a danger, the "fact that the matter was not ultimately tried by a jury is not dispositive." [The Bar did not indicate how a finder of fact would be called upon to make such a determination.] [Rule 3.6(a) replaces the "clear and present danger" standard with a "substantial likelihood of interfering with the fairness of the trial by a jury" standard.]

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn