Conflicts of Interest in the Representation by Matt Murdock of Alleged Criminals Apprehended by Daredevil

(This guest post was written by Scott Maravilla.  Scott writes at the Contract Law Profs Blog and is an alumnus at the PrawfsBlawg.  By day, Scott is an Administrative Judge at the Federal Aviation Administration, although all of the opinions expressed in this post are Scott’s own, and do not represent those of the FAA.  Thank you to Scott for this great post!)

Daredevil is the fictional alter ego of lawyer Matt Murdock in the Marvel Universe encompassing both comics and film.  As a boy, he was blinded by radioactive chemicals, which also left him with his remaining senses functioning at superhuman levels.  This also included a sort of “radar sense” that allows him to perceive his environment in a 360º manner, thus giving our hero an advantage in any fight.

Murdock continues to live in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City (now Clinton but we tend to overlook that fact) where, by night, he fights various nefarious supervillains (his arch-nemesis being Wilson Fisk, a.k.a, The Kingpin).  By day, Matt is an attorney.  He has his own law firm located right in Hell’s Kitchen with his partner, Foggy Nelson (Nelson & Murdock).  One of the emerging themes of the story is that Matt Murdock often finds himself representing the very villains he’s captured.  Thus, the issue arises whether is ethical for Matt Murdock to represent the alleged criminals he brought to justice as Daredevil.

Illuminating that question is a New Jersey Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics opinion:  Opinion 709 – Conflict of Interest: Municipal Police Officer Who Is an Attorney Engaging in Private Practice of Criminal Law, 185 N.J.L.J. 1202 (September 25, 2006), 15 N.J.L. 2166 (October 16, 2006).  The full text of the Opinion can be found here  and here.

The Advisory Committee was concerned with “the propriety of a municipal police officer who is an attorney affiliating with a law firm located in a municipality bordering that in which he serves as police officer” representing criminal defendants.  The Committee concluded that the representation of a criminal defendant by an officer within his or her municipality is prohibited under RPC 1.8(k).  While Daredevil is practicing in New York, not New Jersey, we’ll view the Advisory Opinion as persuasive (which it is).

Opinion 709 observes that the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) for New Jersey do not have a sanction for an appearance of impropriety.  Thus, the most obvious reason to dissuade Murdock’s practice is not available in the Garden State.  However, the appearance prohibition is included in many other jurisdictions including New York.

RPC 1.8(k) states that:

 A lawyer employed by a public entity, either as a lawyer or in some other role, shall not undertake the representation of another client if the representation presents a substantial risk that the lawyer’s responsibilities to the public entity would limit the lawyer’s ability to provide independent advice or diligent and competent representation to either the public entity or the client.

I recognize that Daredevil is not “employed by a public entity.”  However, for purposes of this post, we are assuming that Daredevil’s actions are sanctioned by the authorities (in the comics and television series, this is not always the case).  The public support for his endeavors helps to make the case more persuasive (it also opens up for some interesting debate in the comments section).

RPC 1.8(k) further provides that an “attorney who is employed by a municipality as a police officer shall not undertake representation of a client if there is a substantial risk that the attorney’s responsibilities to the municipality would limit the attorney’s ability to provide independent advice or diligent and competent representation to the client.”  RPC 1.7(a)(2) also prohibits representation where there is a “significant risk” that the lawyer’s ability to advise the client is “materially limited” by their responsibility to a third party.

The Opinion provides that “[m]unicipal police officers exercise full law enforcement powers within the territorial limits of their municipality.”  They have a duty, within their municipalities to enforce the law, “to take other steps to detect and apprehend violators of the law,” and assist with the prosecution.  The latter is very important because the work involved with the prosecutors may affect the ability of the lawyer to provide legal advice in another matter.

For further support in analyzing the conflict between lawyer and assisting the prosecution, the Advisory Committee relied upon the New Jersey Supreme Court holding in State v. Clark, 162 N.J. 201 (2000).  The Court “held that a municipal prosecutor may not represent a defendant in a criminal matter in the Superior Court of the county in which he or she serves as municipal prosecutor.”  The Court’s rationale was “that the integrity of the criminal justice system could be impaired when an attorney serves a dual role of municipal prosecutor and criminal defense attorney in the same county.”  Based on this line of reasoning, the Opinion notes that “the police officer witness [could give] direct testimony for the prosecutor one day in Superior Court, then appear as opposing counsel to the same prosecutor the next day in his role as defense attorney.”  Like Opinion 709, the Supreme Court declined to extend the ban beyond the jurisdiction at issue.

While not prosecuting, Matt Murdock is serving as the attorney for the alleged criminals in the very jurisdiction in which he apprehended them.  In Daredevil # 174, he represented Melvin Potter, a.k.a., Gladiator asserting an insanity defense.  In the recent Netflix series, the firm represented Frank Castle, a.k.a., The Punisher, who was also defeated by Daredevil.

Murdock’s representation does pose a “significant risk” of being “materially limited” by his obligations to a third party, i.e. Daredevil.  Can he really allow Melvin Potter to walk only to later combat him when he assumes his alter persona, Gladiator?  The same goes for the unremorseful Punisher who is himself an anti-hero.  Further, as in Clark, “the integrity of the criminal justice system could be impaired when an attorney serves a dual role of” a superhero.

Following the logic of Opinion 709 and Clark, the case against Daredevil is even stronger because the officers in question there do not purport to represent the perpetrator they themselves arrested.  It is not as if he is the defense attorney for supervillains captured by the Fantastic Four or Spiderman.

Interestingly, according to Opinion 709, RPC 1.8(k) and Clark may also prohibit representing criminal defendants in other jurisdictions.  It depends on the particular facts of the case.  So, Murdock is not completely off the hook when it comes to super-team ups (sorry, Defenders).

The one ray of hope for the firm of Nelson & Murdock is that Daredevil’s conflicts are not automatically imputed to Foggy Nelson.  The “conflicted lawyer must be screened completely from any representation by other lawyers in the firm.”  As Foggy Nelson knows the secret identity of Daredevil (at least in the Netflix show), this arrangement can be made.

44 responses to “Conflicts of Interest in the Representation by Matt Murdock of Alleged Criminals Apprehended by Daredevil

  1. Terry Washington

    As Daredevil is NOT a police officer(or any other form of duly deputized law enforcement officer), how can Matt Murdock’s defence of alleged criminals captured by his alter ego amount to a conflict of interest. For that matter whether superheroes in the Marvel universe(DD, Spider-Man, FF, X-Men, Defender, Avengers) are or could be considered law enforcement officers has always been a little fuzzy> If they were they would face allegations of unneccessary force(ie brutality) on a regular basis!

    • It might be rather difficult to prove that any given level of force was *unnecessary* when apprehending, for example, Sandman or Juggernaut. But that’s a side note.

      I don’t see how Matt’s defence of criminals captured by Daredevil can possibly *not* amount to a conflict of interest. He’s already proven, of course, by his actions, that he considers his client to be a criminal. (This isn’t a dealbreaker in itself – a lawyer can honestly represent a client he knows to be guilty.) But he’s also proven that he’s willing to go to considerable extra time, effort, expense and risk, with no compensation, in order to see them caught and imprisoned. It’s very difficult to claim that he can be sure he’s putting his best possible efforts into their defence.

      Especially as the conflict would be so easy to avoid – all he need do is assign the case to Foggy, without informing Foggy of any of the information he acquired as Daredevil. Foggy can then conduct an honest defence to the best of his ability.

      Which creates the possibility of another, important conflict of interest. You see, there is one good self-interested reason for Matt to take these cases: it acts to shield his dual identity from scrutiny. In the comics at least Murdock has been publically and convincingly accused of being Daredevil, to his own great risk.

      If Nelson and Murdock consistently refuse cases with superhero involvement – in Marvel New York – they will clearly have no clients at all, and go broke.

      But if Nelson and Murdock consistently refuse only cases involving Daredevil – or if all Daredevil-related cases are only handled by Foggy – that in itself is suspicious, and brighter minds will make the connection. (Kingpin would never have failed to notice that one.)

      So Murdock is improving his own safety, and that of his dual identity, by taking the cases – even though there is a clear risk of, at the least, some form of compromise occurring.

      That’s a pretty clear conflict of interest in itself. Matt derives a personal benefit from the misleading fact of him accepting the case at all.

      (If you don’t think this compromise can occur in court, then consider the following hypothetical: A bystander is called to testify regarding Daredevil’s, and the defendant’s, actions during the event. His testimony has a chance of giving away a key clue to Matt’s dual identity – a recent injury sustained during the fight, for example, which Matt still has and has created an excuse for. Are we really to believe that Matt will not feel any hesitation in cross-examination? How can he be sure that he’s serving his client’s interests and not his own as he formulates his questions?)

      • “he’s also proven that he’s willing to go to considerable extra time, effort, expense and risk, with no compensation, in order to see them caught and imprisoned.”

        No… he’s willing to go to considerable extra time, effort, expense and risk, with no compensation, in order to see them caught and brought to trial.

        Matt Murdock’s efforts to bring the criminals who oppress Hell’s Kitchen to justice might be seen as (very roughly) similar to the SPLC’s efforts to bring the racist criminals who oppress Southern black folks to justice. In both cases, the good guy(s) have a pretty good idea of who’s guilty, and a firm belief that the people have suffered too long from the criminals’, well, criminality. In both cases, the police must be goaded into action, with considerable effort.

  2. I see the conflict of interest in Matt Murdock defending criminals he apprehended, but in recent Daredevil comics Matt has switched to working as a prosecutor. Is there any legal/ethical bar to him prosecuting criminals he apprehended?

    • It’s not hard to see an ethical bars.

      Consider this situation: A criminal prosecution is about to fail, due to insufficient evidence to prove that the defendant is, in fact, the person alleged to be present at the scene of the crime. (Let’s say they’ve managed to produce an alibi that Matt didn’t expect.)
      Daredevil’s testimony would be sufficient to demolish the supposed alibi. (Without assuming any bias on the jury’s part in favour of superheroes – since the case involved Daredevil to start with, any juror with particular reason to be well-disposed to Daredevil’s testimony will have been challenged and removed, unless the defence are staggeringly failing their client.)

      Now what does Matt do?

      • To my knowledge, Matt has never once testified as Daredevil and in fact DD is technically considered a criminal on account of being a vigilante, so if he DID show up he would be arrested on the spot.

        I could be mistaken, but I think Matt has in fact been in similar situations before; he grumbles and tries to fight it, but he doesn’t show up in his outfit.

      • Jonathan, I believe Matt did testify as Daredevil once, but not in costume. After the storyline you mentioned below (where Matt was outed as Daredevil but continued to deny it in public), he eventually admitted in court to being Daredevil so he could testify against the Sons of the Serpent.

        What if we take secret identities out of the equation? Would Matt be forbidden from prosecuting criminals captured by Daredevil if his identity as Daredevil was still public knowledge? (Analogous to if the lawyer in Opinion 709 had been a prosecutor instead of a defense attorney.)

      • I would think that another thorny issue in the “Murdoch as prosecutor” scenario would be his obligation under Brady v. Maryland to disclose potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense.

        If I’m not mistaken, the disclosure obligation extends to evidence that might tend to impeach any prosecution witnesses. So any time a prosecution witness gets something materially wrong (“then the defendant tried to attack me!”) that Murdoch knows is wrong (the defendant was actually just running from Daredevil and didn’t even know the witness was there), Murdoch possesses at least two pieces of exculpatory information: the fact that Daredevil knows this isn’t true, and the fact that Daredevil can be subpoenaed in the form of Matt Murdoch.

    • “What if we take secret identities out of the equation? Would Matt be forbidden from prosecuting criminals captured by Daredevil if his identity as Daredevil was still public knowledge?”

      If Matt’s publicly known to be the Daredevil, then he cannot prosecute any cases of defendants capture by or with the help of Daredevil.
      This is because he might be called as a witness. (ABA rule 3.7). As it is, he slides by on a VERY gray technicality… Daredevil is not likely to be called as a witness because process servers do not know where to find him to serve him papers.

  3. Are there any legal implications in lawyer Reilly Tyne (Darkdevil) getting legal mentoring from Matt Murdock’s ghost (MC2 does some weird things with legacy characters)?

    • If you want to get into the really weird questions, I think I can top that one.

      What if a duly-licensed attorney appears in court while possessed by Deadman (if you don’t know, he’s a DC character )

      Is it UPL, because Boston Brand was not an attorney? Is it ineffective assistance of counsel, because the attorney’s personality was suppressed by Deadman’s possession? Is there a tort case in there somewhere? (Say, for interference with contract)?

  4. One obvious way around this might be for Murdoch and Nelson to announce that they are on retainer to Daredevil for some purpose (e.g., if anyone wants to charge him with causing damage etc.) so can’t be involved in other cases involving him since this is an obvious conflict of interest. They’ll lose the money they might otherwise earn from these cases, but since they’re supposed to serve the law it’s a sacrifice they should be willing to make.

    • Depending on how strong the superhero grapevine is, it might also be worth spreading the idea that every hero should get a law firm on retainer. Officially it would be in case of things like lawsuits but there would also be a little wink-wink, nudge-nudge that it would help give cover for any heroes who are also lawyers.

  5. Terry Washington

    Given that at least one OTHER Marvel hero(or in her case heroine) is also an attorney, Jennifer Walters, aka the Savage She Hulk. competition for the superhero clientele could get a little fierce

  6. I would certainly worry about a conflict of interest if the guy who dragged me to jail (legitimately or not) then turned around and said something amounting to but trust me, I’ll work hard to keep you out of jail too. Yeah, I’d have a hard time believing that latter part and if I were subsequently found guilty (again, legitimately or otherwise) I would certainly suspect that my lawyer might not be bringing even his Z game much less his A game to my defence. I’d suspect that he was just continuing his earlier on the streets strategy into a new setting.

    And then I’d have to break out of prison, strap on my atomic powered rocket pants and raze a city to the ground in my own defence-cum-revenge. See, only sound judicial demarcation can prevent super-villainy.

  7. Another issue will be the flood of appeals and releases if or when the Murdock-Daredevil connection is made.

    • There was a lengthy storyline on exactly that- Matt was outed as Daredevil, and in a heap of legal trouble (he ended up going to prison for a time), and he only got off by managing to convince the jury that he wasn’t actually Daredevil (helped to have Iron Fist running around in a Daredevil costume to make it look like Daredevil was still active). Even then though, it remained an open secret that Murdock was Daredevil, and he had trouble finding work for a time if I remember correctly.

  8. It seems a key point of those rules is the officers’ duty to enforce the law and assist the prosecution.

    Daredevil has neither duty imposed on him, so using those rules as the grounding for an ethics question seems a bit farcical. Daredevil can’t be compelled to hand over evidence to the DA or summoned to appear as a routine part of his job in the same way law enforcement can be, as he has not that duty nor the affiliation. That possibility, which those rules explicitly aim to prevent, doesn’t exist.

    Equally, you cannot consider Daredevil as a third party/employer. That’s not how the whole secret identity thing works. He doesn’t have to balance the interests of the municipality (he isn’t an employee), or a fiduciary duty to other clients or the court relating to his identity as Daredevil, as he doesn’t have oversight. (Now, have him sign the Accords, and this changes.)
    It’s more akin to representing a client he knows is guilty (in some jurisdictions, a lawyer must excuse themselves if they know this is the case, and my criminal law class were told the first rule is not to ask, so this isn’t universally allowed), or a situation where he has more information but cannot use it as it is inadmissible due to being illegally obtained.
    It is also more akin to a personal conflict – think like a Senator opting out of a committee vote where they have stock in a company that has put in a tender for government contracts. These situations weren’t referenced in the article. Does Matt having more information about the arrest and the actions of the client from his role as Daredevil affect his ability to present the defence? How does that affect discovery? Can he adhere to his duties as a representative of the court while withholding information that would affect his client’s defence? Can he adequately advise a client while withholding that information? This was only minimally touched on in the article – but it is not a material risk of being limited by obligations to a third party. Daredevil is not a third party here, and Matt protecting his identity, cherrypicking or obscuring or falsifying evidence (in the name of having material facts brought forward without Daredevil’s involvement, for example), is not an obligation imposed on him by a fiduciary duty, it’s his personal choice.

  9. Off-topic, but Daredevil’s origin brings up another question: What happens if he (or his parents) sued the company whose chemicals caused Matt’s blindness/superpowers? On the one hand, blinding someone seems like the kind of thing that causes liability, but could the company make any use of the fact that Daredevil hasn’t been meaningfully impaired (if anything the opposite) by the accident?

    • …only if they can prove that Matt Murdock is, actually, Daredevil. Good luck with that.

      Also: I wouldn’t like to try, even in Marvel New York, arguing that “chemical-goo-induced-blindness being compensated for by awesome-radar-supersenses” is a forseeable outcome of the accident, and therefore that the company wasn’t negligent.

      Since Matt still uses a sensory deprivation tank just to be able to get some rest, it would also be hard to argue there are no lasting ill effects – “inability to sleep without special equipment” shouldn’t be hard to prove.

      • Interesting; that makes sense (and yes, I’d forgotten about the sensory deprivation tank). Does that suggest that in a case like Spider-Man’s, there’d be less liability? As far as I know, the accident that gave him his powers didn’t come with negative side effects, but it seems like it’s the kind of event that’s only possible when there’s been a serious lapse in safety procedures.

        It seems like a lot of Marvel superhero origin stories, actually, are the kinds of things that would get someone sued. Is it likely that the plaintiff getting superpowers would be a mitigating factor in damages?

        I’m assuming that all the facts are known (i.e., a young Matt Murdock’s family sues the company, rather than keeping his powers secret), or Ben and May Parker visiting an attorney after a company exposes high school students to irradiated insect bites.

      • Young Matt, immediately post-accident, might have regarded his enhanced senses as more of a curse than a blessing; he suffered from overstimulation until he learned to control them, though I assume he coped well enough for everyday life before he met Stick.

        But the point about Spider-Man is interesting. Does radiation in the Marvel Universe reliably give people superpowers? Probably not, or Dr. Doom or someone would be turning out a supersoldier army. I don’t think it would do a defendant much good to argue “Yes, 99 times out of 100 this kind of accident would have given the victim cancer, but in this case he got superpowers instead so it’s all good.”

      • James Pollock

        (regarding Spider-Man) ” As far as I know, the accident that gave him his powers didn’t come with negative side effects”
        Well, there’s that episode from around Amazing Spider-Man #100 or so (if I recall correctly) where he grew those four extra arms…

        “Does radiation in the Marvel Universe reliably give people superpowers?”
        The answer is no, radiation doesn’t always give you super-powers. It worked for the Fantastic Four (cosmic radiation), the Hulk (gamma radiation), and some others. But it just killed Mar-Vell. The Marvel Universe also includes the end of WWII, and none* of the victims of the atomic bombings came away with superpowers.
        However, the radioactive ooze that created Daredevil also had an effect on some turtles in the sewer…

      • The question is, however, what damages are suitable. Since they are supposed to be compensation for the damage you suffered. The 99 victims who get cancer can get compensation for pain and suffering, loss of income if they can’t hold down job, cancer treatment, etc. The one super-powered one has to prove he suffered a loss.

      • As a young boy he spent an unknown period of time, at least days and likely much longer, in a hospital bed after the accident. He then had to learn how to adjust to life without normal sight which was not easy, and though he had superpowers out of it those same powers caused him considerable distress at times due to the inevitable negative effects of uncontrollable superhuman senses.

        Also, you could argue that had Matthew NOT been injured, then his father would not have gotten involved in fixes boxing matches to help cover the medical fees as well as extra costs that come with living with a disabled son…fixed boxing matches that led to his murder.

        So, yeah, Matt could sue for quite a damn lot.

    • “could the company make any use of the fact that Daredevil hasn’t been meaningfully impaired”

      This would effect the calculation of damages, but the company still has liability. Young Matt (and his family) incurred medical expenses, and you can’t pay your hospital bills with a radar sense.

      Keep in mind that the standard that makes a battery tort is ANY offensive, unwanted touching. Young Matt didn’t want to be blinded, and didn’t want his other senses enhanced… he just wanted to be able to see. The fact that his other senses developed strongly is him adapting to his injury.
      Imagine arguing that an accident that put a guy into a wheelchair shouldn’t give you any liability… his legs are useless, but now his arms are WAY stronger!

      • Ah. Good point. Which, with Jonathan’s point above, seems like it’d suggest that a more legally realistic outcome has the senior Murdock suing the company rather than getting involved with fixed boxing matches.

  10. I’m going to suggest that the closest analogy to what Daredevil does is NOT “police officer”, but rather “bounty hunter”. He aids in the capture of fugitives, but not as a sworn law-enforcement officer. Private individuals can, of course, apprehend criminals (at the substantial risk of tort lawsuit if they arrest the wrong person at the wrong time).

    The real problem arises in conjunction with the sixth amendment. He has the right to confront the witnesses against him, i.e., Daredevil. Defense attorney Matt Murdock has an interest in requiring Daredevil to identify himself and submit to cross-examination. Superhero Daredevil has an interest in keeping his identity secret. These interests conflict. Either Daredevil needs to assist the police in building a case that requires no testimony from Daredevil, or Matt Murdock needs to go public.

    This presents the interesting ethics challenge… when Matt Murdock declines to be appointed as counsel to a criminal apprehended by Daredevil, what reason does he state, and what happens if the court appoints him over his objection(s)?

    • He would probably agree, and just not show up as Daredevil. For a start, in order to summon Daredevil to court, you need to find him first. And even if you do find him, if he doesn’t show up, it’s not the end of the trial surely- he’ll probably be issued a fine or something and perhaps be told to come for the appeal, but again no-shows. Just hope Matt is going through one of his “rich lawyer” rather than “broke lawyer” phases for all the cash DD will need to cough up.

      Of course, there is also the fact that while he might be analogous to a bounty hunter, he is factually not, and is in fact technically a fugitive from the law himself since, as has been established, he is a vigilante. If the police can make him show up in court, they can also cart him off to prison.

      • James Pollock

        “He would probably agree, and just not show up as Daredevil.”

        There’s this thing called a “material witness warrant”… he’s got a limited number of no-shows before they just decide to hold onto him until the trial.

      • James Pollock

        ” if he doesn’t show up, it’s not the end of the trial surely”

        Well, depending on the case, it probably is. If the prosecution can’t offer testimony that explains WHY this person is known to be the criminal who did the crime (because Daredevil is the one who caught him doing it, subdued the criminal, and summoned the police), you probably don’t have enough evidence to convict.

        The defense attorney just says “OK, Officer Blue, how do you know that this guy was involved in any way in the jewelry-store burglary? All you know is that he was the victim of an assault, isn’t that true?”
        When the officer tries to say something like “well, Daredevil told me…”, the objection for hearsay cuts off the answer… you need Daredevil to testify that THIS is the guy he saw breaking in the jewelry store, and THIS is the guy he knocked out and left for the police to find. See how that’s a pretty important piece of the puzzle?

      • You could apply that objection to any vigilante or anonymous crime fighter, e.g. Batman, Superman, etc. I think it would be a huge problem in the real world, but it generally gets ignored in comics in the interest of making the stories work. Where Daredevil differs is in being a lawyer, and thus having numerous conflicts between his duties and clandestine activities. Maybe we should be focusing on that.

      • James Pollock

        “You could apply that objection to any vigilante or anonymous crime fighter, e.g. Batman, Superman, etc. I think it would be a huge problem in the real world”

        Huh? How does secretly being a costumed vigilante create conflict problems prosecuting/defending people brought in by other costumed crimefighters?

        If I’m defense attorney A by day, and costumed superhero X at night, and I’m defending a suspect brought in by costumed superhero Y, I can bring up the Confrontation Clause issues with the prosecution freely and without conflict. What’s best for my client is to either cross-examine the witness or to get the case kicked because of lack of admissible evidence, and I can do that without conflict. I mean, I might get a hard time about it from all the other costumed crimefighters with secret identities the next time I’m hanging out at the Superhero Clubhouse, but that doesn’t create any ethical challenges for me.

  11. Terry Washington

    Apropos of Daredevil as “vigilante”- the same could be said of Spider-Man, the X-Men(esp vis a vis the Daily Bugle in mainstream Marvel universe) , the Defenders or ANY superhero group or individual who does NOT cooperate with law enforcement authorities( as do Avengers and FF)!

    • This issue is ignored in the comics as near as I can recall. As a former defense attorney, if the prosecutor said their case against my client was that a vigilante in a mask is their sole witness i would ask how soon they are dropping the case. I would think only megalomaniacs who like an audience for their crimes would have a chance of being prosecuted.

      • Well, to be fair, megalomaniacs who like an audience aren’t exactly a rare breed in comics…

  12. Terry Washington

    I admit that this is off topic but at least one Marvel hero, , can trace his mutant powers back to his mother being caught in the atomic bombings of Nagasaki (or was it Hiroshima). The whole issue of radiation(gamma, cosmic and otherwise can be horrifyingly random- it turned Reed Richards, Johnny and Sue Storm and of course Ben Grimm into a human rubber band, a human torch, an invisible girl(later woman) and of course an ever lovin blue eyed thing respectively, gave Daredevil and Spider Man enhanced senses, the Leader increased intellect and the Abomination Hulk level strength!

    • “I admit that this is off topic but at least one Marvel hero, , can trace his mutant powers back to his mother being caught in the atomic bombings of Nagasaki (or was it Hiroshima).”

      The entire comics neighborhood that is the X-Men traces back to increased radiation in the 1950’s… the original X-Men were referred to as the “Children of the Atom” before the writers got the idea that there’s a mutant gene that produces superpowers that’s been there for thousands of years (at least). The movies include the retcon; Magneto is already a mutant when he’s put into the Nazi concentration camp, and Wolverine is already a mutant when he gets caught in the atomic bomb blast. (And Apocalypse, of course, is already a mutant just little bit earlier.)
      But… it’s not all the SAME radiation… the FF get their powers from cosmic rays, and Hulk gets his from gamma rays. Jewel and Daredevil get their powers from contact with unnamed chemicals which happen to be radioactive, Inhumans, Luke Cage, and Cloak and Dagger get their powers from unnamed chemicals which are not known to be radioactive, and Spider-Man isn’t irradiated at all.
      Over on the DC side, Superman gets HIS powers from radiation, Flash gets his from unnamed chemicals plus radiation, Changeling gets his from unnamed chemicals not known to be radioactive.

  13. This article kind of skirts around the incontrovertible ethical lapse… Murdock’s failure of candor towards the tribunal and other parties. He’s withholding a material fact from the prosecution and the court, which he should be ethically bound to disclose (specifically, his role in the apprehension of suspects in the guise of Daredevil).

  14. With his enhanced senses, he must often be in possession of Information that he shouldn’t. Say opppsing counsel is whispering to their client about case strategy, or he can tell when someone’s lying by their heartbeat! As an officer of the court, even before he became a prosecutor (when did that happen!) isn’t he ethically obligated to recuse himself from cases when he knows information he shouldn’t?

    • I’m not sure we see Murdock snooping on opposing counsel’s discussions with their client (or among each other, if there’s more than one defense attorney). Or at least it doesn’t happen very frequently. If it did, that would be a definite ethical breach.

      However, knowing someone is lying by their heartbeat wouldn’t be. Attorneys (and non-attorneys) judge people’s trustworthiness all the time. Murdock just happens to have a particularly keen ability in that regard.

      Regarding Murdock as a prosecutor: we’ll see more about that in an upcoming post about the current comics storyline, in which Murdock is making a legal play to allow superheroes to testify while preserving their secret identities.

  15. “I’m not sure we see Murdock snooping on opposing counsel’s discussions with their client (or among each other, if there’s more than one defense attorney). Or at least it doesn’t happen very frequently. If it did, that would be a definite ethical breach.”

    Is it, though? There certainly isn’t an expectation of privacy in a public place (such as a courtroom) and privilege is destroyed if there’s a third-party who overhears.
    The problem is the lack of candor… Matt Murdock, attorney, hasn’t disclosed the material fact that he CAN overhear things to the tribunal or opposing counsel.

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