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The common-law duty to volunteer information about a client to a court considering pretrial release must be limited to situations where information gained convinces counsel that his client intends to commit a crime or inflict injury upon unknowing third persons.
Appellant, Michael Hawkins, was booked for possession of marijuana. Appellee attorney was appellant’s court appointed defense attorney. Appellant wanted his freedom despite his mother's attempts to keep him in custody due to psychiatric problems. Appellee obtained appellant's release on bail. Appellant assaulted his mother and attempted suicide. Appellant and his mother commenced an action for damages against, among others, appellee. Appellee moved to dismiss, and that dismissal was granted. Appellant and his mother challenged the ruling, arguing that appellee's failure to disclose appellant's mental condition at the bail hearing subjected him to liability for malpractice and that appellee negligently violated a common-law duty to warn foreseeable victims of a dangerous individual.
The court found that appellant and mother failed to cite any clear provision of the law which required appellee to volunteer information damaging to his client's expressed interests. Disclosure was not required by law. Moreover, the court held that where there was no indication that appellant was violent, merely possibly mentally ill, appellee did not have an obligation to warn. Accordingly, the court affirmed the summary judgment granted in favor of appellee attorney.