Protecting the Sanctity of Attorney-Client Privilege

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas Statement on Protecting the Sanctity of Attorney-Client Privilege, including within Law Enforcement Facilities

“Confidentiality is one of the pillars of the attorney-client relationship. Legal representation is a cornerstone of our justice system.

“These are fundamentally important for us to uphold and, if there are problems, we have an obligation to correct them.

“The Public Defender must be afforded the privacy necessary to have the tough conversations that must be had between attorneys and clients, particularly during complicated, sensitive, stressful times.

“The sanctity of attorney-client privilege is pursuant to the Constitution and recording these critical conversations — intentionally or unintentionally — creates challenges to the provision of effective counsel. I am not a lawyer but even I understand this fundamental principle

“I trust that all parties will move forward in the spirit of collaboration to protect these constitutional rights with, perhaps, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Office of Public Defender and the Sheriff’s Department, and even the District Attorney’s Office. There should be no equivocation as to how this gets done. None.”

Interim Public Defender Nicole Tinkham testifies before the Board of Supervisors on September 18, 2018. Photo by Diandra Jay / Board of Supervisors