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Havrutah team assignment: Identify the various scenes that posed ethical dilemmas or consisted

of outright ethical violations, with a short explanation of the nature of the dilemma/violation.

A. When Donavan decided to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

In this scene, judgement was rendered against Abel, clearly in violation of his various rights as an
accused. Donovan knew he had grounds to appeal the case to higher courts and even up to the
Supreme Court. There was even a scene that his colleague impliedly agreed with Donovan that
they had constitutional grounds to raise the case for appeal. However, the dilemma lied in the fact
that Donovan was told not raise an appeal because his job was supposedly only to portray the fact
that Abel had competent counsel and that the justice system worked. So Donovan was caught
between the interest of his law firm and even the US government against his duty towards his
client. Section 20(i) of Rule 138-A provides that it is the duty of an attorney, in the defense of a
person accused of crime, by all fair and honorable means, regardless of his personal opinion as to
the guilt of the accused, to present every defense that the law permits, to the end that no person
may be deprived of life or liberty, but by due process of law. Donovan chose to fulfil his duty
towards Abel.

B. When Donavan was asked to negotiate the exchange of Abel and Powers in East Berlin.

After successfully convincing the judge to commit Abel to only a 30 year prison sentence instead
of the death penalty, Donovan was asked to broker a deal between the US and the USSR to deliver
Abel to the Soviets in exchange for the Powers. Although this happened after the trial of Abel,
Donovan still had an obligation towards Abel as his client when he was asked to negotiate with
the Soviets. Thus, he had to balance the interests of his client and his country. One duty of a lawyer,
as stated in his oath, is to maintain allegiance to his nation, but at the same time, under the CPR, a
lawyer also owes fidelity to the cause of his client. Furthermore, brokering a deal between nations
was clearly outside the scope of Donovans expertise. He could have declined the offer, but instead
he chose to serve both his client and his country.

C. When Donavan has to decide whether to get back only Powers or both Powers and Pryor.

Donovan was directed by his government, thru the CIA, to broker an exchange between the United
States and the USSR Abel for Powers. However, during the course of the negotiations, Donovan
learned that Pryor, an American student, was also being held captive by the East Germans. This
compelled Donovan to broker a new deal between the three nations to ensure the freedom of both
Americans. Donovans decision did not even garner the support of the US government. On the
contrary, he was told to forget about Pryor and focus on getting back Powers, which the
government had a more vested interest in. This did not sit well with Donovan as he was moved by
a sense of duty to also negotiate for the freedom of Pryor. Thus, while Donovan had a duty to
maintain allegiance with his country, he also had a corresponding duty to those in need of his
D. When Powers is tortured by the Soviets.

The scenes which depicted the Soviets torturing Powers in order to extract information from him
was a blatant violation of basic human rights and clearly an unethical method of treating foreign
prisoners. The act of torture has been condemned by various nations under the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the Convention Against Torture and Other
Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, among others. In Philippine jurisdiction,
the Constitution and the Anti-torture Act of 2009 clearly ban all forms of torture in light of the
progression of civil and human rights movement across the world. The Soviets methods of
depriving Powers of sleep and subjecting him to other forms of torture constituted flagrant
ethical violations.


A. When Pryor has not shown up at the meeting point for the exchange, and the US official,
Hoffman, was asking Abel to go to the Soviets in order to get back Powers.

In this scene, Donovans tactics did not seem to work in order to free both Pryor and Powers. This
led to Hoffman asking Abel to nevertheless be exchanged for only Powers. Donovan reveals to
Abel that they are waiting for another person, Pryor, to be brought by the East Germans. This
resulted in a standoff which could have potentially prejudiced the release of Powers. The ethical
dilemma presented here is whether Donovan should stand his ground and delay the exchange until
Pryor is delivered or cut his losses and just settle with freeing Powers for Abel. This poses a
question as to whether Donovan should practically abandon Pryor in order to ensure the freedom
of Powers. Canon 15 of the CPR provides that a lawyer should observe candor, fairness and loyalty
in all his dealings and transactions with his clients. However, in this case, Donovan took it upon
himself to also have Pryor as his client although his main objective was Powers.

B. When Abel asked Donovan You never asked me if I was a spy. To which Donovan
replied, It doesnt matter.

Donovan was given the monumental task of defending an alleged Soviet Spy during the height of
the Cold War. This led to Donovans colleagues and family reprimanding him for doing his job
too well. Donovans work resulted in Abel escaping the death penalty, much to the anger of many
Americans. In this scene, Donovan reaffirmed his position that it did not matter if Abel was a spy
because he was still a client and deserved to be defended by any and all the legal means necessary.
The dilemma would then be between Donovans loyalty to his country and loyalty to his client.
Section 20(a) of Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court provide that it is the duty of an attorney to
maintain allegiance to the Republic and to support its constitution. On the other hand, the
paragraph (i) of the same section provides that it is also his duty, in the defense of a person
accused of crime, by all fair and honorable means, regardless of his personal opinion as to the guilt
of the accused, to present every defense that the law permits, to the end that no person may be
deprived of life or liberty, but by due process of law.

C. When Donovan used hardball negotiating tactics with the East Germans which risked his
negotiation with the Soviets.

The tactics employed by Donovan may be considered shrewd but in no way was illegal or offensive
to the opposing party. However, it was not the tactics employed, but the risk that came with it that
put Donovan at a crossroads with CIA Agent Hoffman. The latter explicitly told Donovan that
Powers was the priority and, in fact, pleaded with Donovan to disregard Pryor in the negotiations.
However, due to some sense of duty, Donovan still pursued the negotiations with the East Germans
to free Pryor, much to the chagrin of Hoffman. Clearly, Donovans actions were for a noble cause
which was the freedom of another innocent American. But the question would be at what cost?
Hoffman was unapologetic in asking Donovan to forget about Pryor but he still had a point that
Donovan might be pushing his luck and could prejudice the original exchange between Abel and
Powers. After all, Abel was his original client and Donovan took it upon himself to give Abel his
freedom back. The CPR provides that a lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of the client. At the same
time, the CPR provides that a lawyer should not refuse his services to the needy. In this case, Pryor
was defenseless and needy party, while Abel was Donovans client. Thus, Donovan had to struggle
between defending both his client and a person in need.

D. When Donovan did not inform his family of his work, which was very risky.

The conflict in play here is between the duty of a man to his family and the duty of a lawyer to his
client. While there is no particular provision in legal ethics that compels a lawyer to be honest with
his family, there is still that matter of fidelity that every husband owes his wife. Surely it was a
struggle for Donovan to conceal his work from his family, especially when his work puts his life
at risk. He had to lie to his wife, Mary, about his travels to Europe. Clearly, Donovan did this to
protect his family after prior events, such as the shooting at their home, which made it clear that
Donovans work was affecting the safety of his family. At the same time, Donovan also had to
conceal his work for the welfare of his client, Abel. Section 20(e) of Rule 138-A provides that it
is the duty of an attorney to maintain inviolate the confidence, and at every peril to himself, to
preserve the secrets of his clients.

E. When Donovan disobeyed the orders of his superiors in order to negotiate for the release
of both Powers and Pryor.