Lawyer & client consultation taped by a commonwealth attorney's office without permission.

Asked about 2 years ago - Lynchburg, VA

A commonwealth attorney and investigator listens for 20 minutes to a conversation held between an attorney and his client. The defendant's attorney advises the court of this. The commonwealth attorney, investigator and others in the CA's office heard this private conversation. The CA is allowed to try the case; the investigator moves to another locality and is allowed to testify in the case. Is this lawful? Is legal recourse available or are these individuals above the law because of who they are? Should their creditability stand?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Crystina Marie O'Brien

    Pro

    Contributor Level 10

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Now, it is impossible to know what the facts really are on this matter and their are huge holes in your recitation. However, I can give you some idea of what I think from a hypothetical situation. Normally the defense attorney (if there was a violation of attorney-client privilege) would have to do a motion to suppress any statements which were overheard and any fruits of the violation of the 6th amendment. I would think that the attorney might argue that the Commonwealth Attorney's mere involvement in the activity may give him/her a unique advantage and, therefore, they should be conflicted out of the case. Also, there is a possibility that the defense attorney would make an ethics complaint against the Commonwealth Attorney, and that also lend a layer of conflict on this matter. However, it is not good to be a backstreet driver on this stuff. Sometimes, people think things have happened which have not. Hopefully you trust the defense attorney and they are doing the right thing. If not, fire the attorney and hire another.

    This advice is generic and not designed to substitute for consulting an attorney. Nothing in this response is... more
  2. Mitchell Paul Goldstein

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . I moved this to constitutional law. It is less a privacy question and more a constitutional one. IF the conversation took place at the police station in the interrogation room, your right to privacy would be severely reduced, if not eliminated.

    See a criminal defense lawyer now. OR maybe one will answer this question.

    Mr. Goldstein is a Virginia-licensed attorney only. The information is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.... more

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