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York Daily Record Quotes Professor Beth Haas on Defense Attorney’s Surprising Police Tip

Professor Beth Haas

January 11, 2016

A York defense attorney who disclosed a client’s plan to kill Pennsylvania state police along with a former girlfriend had honored his ethical obligations, Professor Beth Haas told the York Daily Record.

Defense attorney Seamus Dubbs alerted police that his client, who was facing charges of harassment and terroristic threats, was also plotting to kill a former girlfriend and “go to war” with police, the Daily Record reported.   But before calling police, the Jan. 8 article said, Dubbs contacted the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s ethics hotline, which advised him that alerting police about a likelihood of death or substantial bodily harm would not violate his duty to maintain client confidentiality.

“His phone call to the Pennsylvania Bar Association was quite smart,” said Haas, who teaches Professional Responsibility, as well as Evidence, Torts and Products Liability.

Dubbs was not required to make the disclosure, Haas added.

“That’s what’s absolutely fascinating this case,” Haas said, noting that she’d never encountered a case like this one.

A former partner with Blank Rome, Haas maintained an extensive federal and state court practice.  She is the law school's faculty director for online education.