Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Court Deputy Lifts Papers From Defense Attorney’s File

Talk about egregious abuses. A Maricopa County, AZ court deputy blithely wanders over to the defense attorney’s table and takes documents from her files - on camera.

This is pretty egregious. The guy is throwing out a lot of excuses, but it’s hard to imagine any justification for this (the bizarre stuff starts about 1:30 in):

From The Victorious Opposition:

Cuccia was justifiably upset, and requested a hearing. That hearing was last week. According to freelance journalist Nick Martin, who writes at the Heat City blog, Stoddard’s story changed several times over the course of the hearing. His main defense was apparently that he spotted “keywords” on the document that made him think it contained threats to the courtroom. The problem with that story is that if you watch the video, he swiped the document from the middle of the file. It wasn’t lying in open view. Which leaves open the question of why, in open court, he went snooping through a defense attorney’s file in the first place.


It gets weirder. According to Heat City, the purpose of Friday’s hearing was to determine if Stoddard had violated the attorney-client privilege of Cuccia’s client, Antonio Lozano, and/or if Stoddard should be held in contempt of court. But Judge Gary Donahoe ruled that because the swiped document itself is protected by attorney-client privilege Stoddard wouldn’t be able to mount his “keyword” defense, because the contents of the document can’t be divulged. According to Heat City, Donahoe said Lozano would have to wave attorney-client privilege if he wanted to proceed with the hearing on whether Stoddard violated his rights.

If this is an accurate portrayal of the hearing, stand back and admire the absurdity: Judge Donahoe is refusing to punish Stoddard for possibly violating Lozano’s attorney-client privilege unless Lozano waives his attorney-client privilege.

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