Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sixth Circuit Grants Mandamus Relief to Habeas Petitioner to Protect A/C Privilege

The Sixth Circuit in In re Lott, 424 F.3d 446 (6th Cir. Sep. 09, 2005) recently granted mandamus relief to a habeas petitioner seeking to overturn the district court's determination that his claim of actual innocence implicitly waived his attorney-client privilege:

"The District Court's order constitutes a departure from existing law for which we find no precedent. It undermines the historically strong protections of the attorney-client privilege. As the order places the privileged relationship between a client and his attorney in jeopardy, this Court will issue the writ."

The opinion provides a good discussion both of the attorney-client privilege and of the standards for granting a writ of mandamus.


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