The AP is reporting that Chicago attorney Fredrick Goings has been charged with first degree murder over the fatal shooting of "the former girlfriend and infant daughter of New York Knicks player Eddy Curry during a domestic-related dispute." The shooting of 24-year-old Nova Henry and her 9-month-old daughter Ava, which occurred late last month, generated widespread news coverage, but the arrest was made just last Friday.
The AP's story noted that:
"Goings was arrested Friday evening as he was getting into his car outside a relative's place in Chicago. Goings has not made any statements to authorities and is not cooperating in the investigation..."
Police told the AP that apparently Goings was representing Henry in a paternity case with Eddy Curry involving Ava, but the two also carried on a personal relationship:
"Police said Goings and Henry had 'a relationship' and the motive for the shooting was 'domestic related' but declined to elaborate.
According to police, Nova Henry let Goings into the apartment on Jan. 24 and the two quarreled.
'What happened inside that apartment will have to come out at a later date,' Walsh told reporters Sunday. 'There obviously was an argument.'"
Although its likely among the least of Goings' concerns, it should be noted that personal relationships between a lawyer and client can sometimes reach the point of being a breach of professional ethics for the attorney. Many jurisdictions have ethics rules prohibiting (to varying extents) sexual relationships between lawyers and clients. Such rules are designed to promote professionalism and the "emotional detachment" which is an important part of doing a lawyer's job. Additionally, intimate relationships are often considered to represent threats to a lawyer's duties to remain free of conflicts of interest with their client and to maintain their confidentiality. These concerns are heightened in divorce cases, where clients are usually considered to be particularly emotionally vulnerable, and where clients often communicate highly sensitive personal information with their attorneys.
In Illinois, there currently is a proposed rule under consideration that would explicitly make such relationships improper. Regardless, even without such a rule, attorneys in Illinois have been found to violate other, more general rules of misconduct for such behavior. Finally, it should be noted that the facts surrounding this case remain unclear, and according to online records, 36-year-old Fredrick Goings was admitted to the bar relatively recently, in April of 2005, and has no disciplinary record.