Tuesday, November 13, 2007

House Passes Attorney-Client Privilege Protection Bill

H.R. 3013, “The Attorney-Client Privilege Protection Act of 2007, passed the U.S. House.  The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) issued a press release that provides in part the following statement from a coalition of groups:

“.... If enacted, H.R. 3013 will prevent prosecutors and enforcement professionals from assuming a role properly reserved for impartial courts and judges. In addition, H.R. 3013 would overturn recent federal policies that have been found to violate employees’ Sixth Amendment right to counsel and Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and will prevent government prosecutors from inappropriately pressuring organizations to not pay their employees’ legal fees during investigations, to fire employees for not waiving their rights, or to take other punitive actions against them long before any guilt has been established.

It also stated:

“The legislation passed today is supported by a group of former senior Justice Department officials from both Republican and Democratic administrations, including three former attorneys general, most of the country’s major national newspapers and a broad and diverse group of organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Bar Association, the Association of Corporate Counsel and business organizations.

    “The Coalition is a uniquely broad and nonpartisan group of membership organizations with one thing in common: we are all deeply troubled by the corrosive effect that federal investigative and prosecutorial policies and practices have had on four fundamental elements of the American system of justice: the attorney-client privilege, the work product doctrine, and the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.”



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