Lawyer texts Client to “destroy the SIM”

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that a prominent Cincinnati defense attorney was acquitted on October 14, 2014 in federal court on obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice charges. The attorney was charged in August 2013 for advising her client through text messages to “destroy the sim” card on his cell phone. SIM stands for subscriber identity module and is used to identify your number with your wireless carrier.

U.S. Attorney argued that the attorney’s advice to destroy the SIM was an obstruction of justice, as he believed the attorney knew that a federal investigation of her client had begun. The attorney’s client had since been convicted of drug charges and is sentenced to serve over 10 years in prison.

The attorney testified that cell phones may have evidentiary value in some cases, but she did not think it had any effect on her client’s case when she advised him to destroy his SIM card. Her argument at trial was that she wanted her client to permanently erase text messages that were attorney-client communications.

Should the attorney have advised her client to simply erase any text messages from her instead of advising him to destroy his entire SIM card?

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