House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Approves Modified Version of Attorney-Client Privilege Protection Act

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security approved a modified version the House privilege waiver bill, H.R. 3013, on July 24 by voice vote.  The report of the edited bill followed a flurry of letters from the Florida Bar, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the New York City Bar to their respective Representatives on the House Judiciary Committee urging support of the bill.  The full House Judiciary Committee is expected to take up the bill in its current form as early as next week, and could approve the measure soon. We will remain apprised of further developments.  For more information, see below an excerpt from CQ Today (re the markup and text of H.R. 3013) and copies of supportive letters from the NYC, Illinois, and Florida Bar Associations, respectively. 

We will remain apprised of further developments.

July 24, 2007 – 8:32 p.m.
House Judiciary Bill Designed to Protect Attorney-Client Privilege By Seth Stern, CQ StaffA House Judiciary subcommittee approved bipartisan legislation Tuesday intended to protect companies’ attorney-client privilege.Approved by voice vote, the measure (HR 3013) would bar federal prosecutors and agents from demanding a waiver of the attorney-client privilege or using a waiver as a factor in determining whether a defendant has been cooperative. Also, defendants could not be pressured to surrender confidential information resulting from their attorneys’ work.The Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security deferred debate on the measure until the full committee markup. The bill is a response to a Justice Department policy that requires companies to waive the attorney-client privilege and release the results of internal investigations in order to be viewed as cooperative and qualify for more lenient punishment.That directive, detailed in a 2003 memo by Deputy Attorney General Larry D. Thompson, was a response to a wave of corporate scandals that implicated companies such as Enron Corp. and WorldCom.The policy has been criticized by a broad coalition of business and legal groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. They contend that the directive undermines a historic shield designed to encourage clients to speak openly with their attorneys.The Justice Department announced a change in the policy in December 2006 that eliminated formal demands for the waiver of privilege. Supporters of the legislation say the department’s revised policy is inadequate because it doesn’t cover more informal requests for a waiver.
The bill is sponsored by
Robert C. Scott, D-Va., the subcommittee chairman. It has two Democratic and six Republican cosponsors.
Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has introduced a companion measure (S 186).
Source: CQ Today
Round-the-clock coverage of news from Capitol Hill.
© 2007 Congressional Quarterly Inc. All Rights Reserved

One Response

  1. I’m still having difficulty understanding why combatants–prisoners of war–have any U.S. Constitutional rights whatsoever.
    Maybe some day, before I pass from this earth, somebody will effectively justify this to me. (i write extensively on con artists, and at times wonder if even they should have Constitutional rights. And, they are citizens.)

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