Thursday, November 7, 2013

Open Court Threat From Client Waived Privilege

A court-appointed guardian ad litem forms an attorney-client relationship with an incarcerated inmate, according to an opinion of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

When the incarcerated client directs the guardian ad litem to convey a statement to a third party, however, the attorney-client privilege is waived.

The case involves a domestic violence petition against one Chubby Hosten.

After a meeting with the client, the appointed guardian made an in-court statement at his client's direction. Charges of intimidation and witness harassment were brought based on the lawyer's statement:

what he [the client] said was if she doesn't leave me alone I am going to her place of employment and kill her....I do not believe that I am breaching confidentiality by saying that. I think there's actually an exception to the rules for this kind of information. But I was told by my client to say this, um, so there it is.

The prosecutor sought the lawyer's testimony and admission of the video of the in-court statement. The circuit court determined that the evidence was protected by privilege and the prosecutor appealed. (Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2013/11/a-court-appointed-guardian-ad-litem-forms-an-attorney-client-relationship-with-an-incarceration-inmate-according-to-an-opini.html

Clients, Current Affairs | Permalink

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