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Lawyer Confidentiality

July 05, 2018

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

Lawyer confidentiality is one of the most sacred aspects of the lawyer-client relationship. According to the American Bar Association, attorneys are bound to keep written and oral information shared with them by their client confidential unless their client gives them permission to share it with others specified. This means that this confidential information cannot be given to police, judges, prosecutors, friends, family, strangers on a bus, or any other person. There are exceptions to this rule, including when the attorney believes that they must do so to prevent serious bodily harm or death, to prevent a client from committing fraud or a crime, to prevent financial harm to another, to secure legal advice about the attorney’s compliance regarding these rules, and in a few other rare circumstances. A lawyer can be disbarred or face other serious consequences for violating lawyer-client confidentiality. Moreover, others can face serious penalties for listening in on privilege lawyer-client discussions; criminal charges can even be dropped if prosecutors are found listening in on such conversations.

1,300 Attorney-Client Phone Calls Were Monitored by a Private Prison in Kansas

A private prison in Kansas is the setting of a recent federal investigation that looked into illegally recorded phone conversations from 2011 to 2013 between inmates and their lawyers. According to Mother Jones, the Kansas U.S. Attorney’s Office authorized more than 1,300 private conversations to be monitored. A $10 million lawsuit has been filed against CoreCivic, the private prison company and its technology provider Securus Technologies. More importantly, many charges could be dropped and convictions overturned if it is found that prosecutors listened in and violated attorney-client privilege. Prosecutors have already admitted to listening to recordings regarding a smuggling case when they initiated the recordings in the first place, but have not yet admitted to listening in on other phone calls.

Actions You Can Take By Hiring a New Attorney

A Pennsylvania attorney was recently suspended when she used confidential information from a former client, who was the victim of campus sexual assault, to the benefit of a client whom she was defending against campus sexual assault charges. If your attorney recently violated attorney-client confidentiality, you may be able to have a retrial with a new, competent attorney. Similarly, if police, prosecutors, or others somehow violated attorney-client privileged information, you may also be able to take action. You would be surprised at the unprofessional and unlawful practices that some on all sides of the criminal justice system use to their advantage.

Reach Out to Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney for Aggressive, Professional Representation

If your criminal case was compromised due to the unprofessional practices of your former attorney, or your phone calls, written documents, or conversations with your attorney were intercepted by a third party, you need to contact the law offices of van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim today. Let our experienced Philadelphia criminal defense team help. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 for professional legal assistance.



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