Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Governmental attorney-client privilege. A federal grand jury subpoenaed the testimony of Anne C. George, the former chief legal counsel to the Office of the Governor of Connecticut. The investigation regarded possible criminal violations by Connecticut public officials and employees and by private parties with whom the state had done business. The grand jury was seeking to obtain testimony about the contents of confidential communications between Ms. George and the governor and members of his staff. The district court entered an order compelling Ms. George to testify, holding that in that the testimony was necessary to the grand jury, the governmental attorney-client privilege must yield because the interests served by the grand jury's fact-finding process outweigh the interest served by the privilege. The Second Circuit reverse, holding that the attorney-client privilege applied and refused to fashion a balancing test or otherwise establish a rule whereby a generalized asserton of privilege must yield to the demonstrated, specific need for evidence. The decision in United States v. Doe can be found at the Second Circuit website. I will try to get you a better site at a later date.