April 11, 2008
Professionalism brings in "Buried Bodies"
Frank H. Armani, defense counsel in the famous 1970s “Buried Bodies” case in New York, came to Columbus on April 2 as part of a CLE program co-sponsored by the Columbus Bar Professionalism Committee and Capital University Law School.
About 150 attorneys and law students packed the Columbus Museum of Art auditorium to hear Armani and the other panelists -- David Goldberger, Moritz; Jonathan Coughlan, Disciplinary Counsel, Ohio Supreme Court; Dennis W. McNamara, a criminal defense attorney; and Holly Wallinger, staff attorney to Judge Richard S. Sheward -- in the program, “Defending Detested Clients and Making Unpopular Decisions: Lawyers and Their Professional Responsibilities.” The program was organized by Capital University Law School Professor Lance Tibbles and chair of the Columbus Bar Professionalism Committee, John P. Curp.
In 1973, Armani and his co-counsel Francis Belge, gained international attention in their defense of serial killer Robert Garrow, who told his attorneys where he buried the bodies of two dead girls. The attorneys verified the fact by finding the bodies, but they did not tell anyone. Six months later the bodies were found, and a year later, when Garrow’s case went to trial, it was disclosed that Armani and Belge had seen the bodies and not told anyone. The public and the media were uncomprehending. The lawyers’ conflict between their own personal ethics and their professional responsibility to protect the confidences of their client remains a central tenant in the teaching of legal ethics.