Robert Guest over at the Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog reports brings word the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals:
is moving to abolish the special rule of criminal attorney-client privilege. This would leave defendants with a much weaker protection currently only used in civil cases.
Here is the [rule] COCA is seeking to abolish-
Texas Rule of Evidence 503(b)(2)(2) Special rule of privilege in criminal cases. In criminal cases, a client has a privilege to prevent the lawyer or lawyer's representative from disclosing any other fact which came to the knowledge of the lawyer or the lawyer's representative by reason of the attorney-client relationship.
The Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled (see their proposal here) that this protection will be deleted on September 1st, 2008. COCA has made this decision without any public input. The Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association was only notified of this decision after it was made.
This special rule has protected Texans since 1856. There is no reason to change it. This letter by Federal Public Defender Richard Anderson documents the history and case law surrounding 503(b)(2).
You Can Help
The COCA judges who made this decision are also politicians. They are elected by the public and accountable to them. Let these judges know that you do not want 503(b)(2) deleted.
Here is their contact information-
Judge Cathy Cochran, firstname.lastname@example.org
Judge Tom Price, email@example.com
Judge Cheryl Johnson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Judge Larry Meyers, email@example.com
Judge Barbara Hervey, firstname.lastname@example.org
Judge Charles Holcomb, email@example.com
Or you may snail mail your letters to individual judges at:
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, P.O. Box 12308, Capitol Station, Austin Texas 78711
It is bad enough that appellate judges rewrite the Constitution to destroy your rights, now they want to rewrite the rules of evidence.
Yikes! Where'd that come from?MORE: See Houston defense attorney Mark Bennett's analysis of the proposed rule change, which to his credit he first published back in March.