Texas Attorney Client Privilege Update
Great news! The Court of Criminal Appeals is tabling their decision to delete the special rule of attorney client privilege in criminal cases. alternative.
From Texas Lawyer
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has defused a heated debate that has raged in blogs and e-mails to CCA judges over a proposal to eliminate a special rule of privilege in criminal cases. CCA Judge Cathy Cochran says the state’s highest criminal court unanimously decided June 16 to defer the proposed deletion of Texas Rule of Evidence 503(b)(2) at least six months to allow ample opportunity for all interested parties to draft a proposed substitute for that rule or to draft a rule or statute to govern the attorney work-product doctrine….
On June 6, Kaufman criminal-defense solo Robert Guest sounded the alarm about the CCA’s plans to eliminate Rule 503(b)(2) on his blog, www.dallascriminaldefenselawyer.com. “This special rule has protected Texans since 1856. There is no reason to change it,” Guest wrote.
In his posting Guest provided the e-mail addresses of six CCA judges and urged his readers to send comments on the proposed rule change.
TDCLA also e-mailed a message written by Hampton to all members of the association, urging the criminal-defense bar to e-mail or write the CCA judges and tell them not to change the rule. “Tell them to leave it alone,” Hampton writes in the message, which also provides the e-mail addresses of six CCA judges.
Cochran estimates that she received as many as 50 e-mails from opponents of the proposal to eliminate Rule 503(b)(2). “Nobody had a clue that this would be controversial,” she says.
But Guest says, “Deleting 503(b)(2) is a solution looking for a problem. It will further erode what little protections defendants have in Texas.”
You did it! Thanks to Grits, The Agitator, Ellis County Observer and others who picked up the story. The public came through and sent over 50 emails to Judge Cochran. This internet activism has at least postponed the repeal of 503(b)(2) and may be enough to save it. Now we just have to work to draft a new rule, or convince COCA to actually keep and apply the old rule.
I’ll have more on this later. I’m packing for Rusty Duncan, and I have a ticket trial tomorrow before I can leave for SA.