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Charles Montaldo

Crime Poll: Attorney-Client Privilege

By January 19, 2013

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Family members of a 14-year-old girl murdered in March 2011, were shocked and angered when an attorney representing the girl's killer revealed in court that he and another attorney knew soon after their client's arrest where the victim's body had been discarded, but did not pass on the information to authorities.

Yashanee Vaughn was shot to death in March 2011. Her body was found by authorities four months later on Rocky Butte (a volcanic cinder cone butte) in Portland, Oregon.

Yashanee's great aunt told reporters, "She laid in two feet of dirt, decomposing and they knew where she was and didn't tell us? That is sick. That is inhumane."

Attorney-Client Privilege

The US Supreme Court recognizes the necessity for attorney-client privilege, which allows a confidential dialogue to exist between lawyers and their clients. This practice encourages clients to be upfront and honest with their lawyers so that they can be effectively represented.

There are exceptions to the privilege, such as when the communication can be used to engage in a crime, however disclosing the known location of a body (as in this case) is not generally considered an exception.

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