Resolved: In the United States criminal justice system, truth-seeking ought to take precedence over
Debate Rounds (4)
The very existence of the attorney-client privilege represents a conscious balancing of two competing interests"the search for truth and the desire to foster positive attorney-client interaction. But, because the privilege does act to withhold truth from the finder of fact, it is proverbially held to apply only where necessary to advance the right to counsel. Because I agree with this quote by Marcus Chatterton I affirm of the resolution, Resolved: In the United States criminal justice system, truth-seeking ought to take precedence over attorney-client privilege.
Criminal justice system- The system of law enforcement that is directly involved in apprehending, prosecuting, defending, sentencing, and punishing those who are suspected or convicted of criminal offenses. (Oxford Dictionary)
Ought- Used to express obligation, advisability, natural expectation, or logical consequence. Merriam-Webster.com
Precedence- The condition of being more important than something or someone else and therefore coming or being dealt with first" Merriam-Webster.com
Attorney-client privilege-Is a rule of evidence that protects the confidentiality of communications between an attorney and client.
When we consider the resolution here today we must ask ourselves what is the main goal of the United States criminal justice system. The Answer to this question is my value for the round of Justice. Justice is giving each person his or her due. We ought to value justice because each and every person that goes to court would like a just court. Justice is the best value because it is the main goal of the United States criminal justice system. According to Thomas Weigend Professor at the University of North Carolina he says, "None of the potential purposes of the criminal process can be reached unless the judgment has been based on a search for the truth. To reach any of its goals, the process must reflect an honest effort to determine what "really" happened. The truth evidently needs to be sought when "finding the truth" or achieving "truth and justice" are the declared goals of the criminal process." This sets up my value criterion of obtaining the truth from the defendants. When we can obtain the truth we have a just system.
Contention 1-Truth Seeking protects the innocent
In the United States criminal justice system the goal is to prosecute the guilty and protect the innocent. This is why all defendants are innocent until proven guilty. There are some major flaws with the system of attorney client privilege because the innocent can be charged with a crime they didn"t commit and the guilty can go free.
This is what happed with Iton Logan. Iton Logan has been in prison 26 years for the shotgun murder of Lloyd Wickliffe, a crime Logan maintains he did not commit. It is not DNA evidence that may free Logan, though, but the words of a man who claimed to be the actual killer, Andrew Wilson. Andrew Wilson's public defenders recently demonstrated that in 1982 Wilson admitted killing Wickliffe. When police arrested Wilson for killing two police officers they found a shotgun linked to a shell at the scene of Wickliffe's murder. Logan's codefendant, Hope, however, told his attorney that Logan was not involved in the murder, and that Wilson was the actual shooter. Hope's attorney gave this information to Wilson's lawyers, who confronted Wilson with Hope's statement. Wilson nodded and said, "That was me." Wilson's lawyers then faced a classic ethical dilemma. What may a lawyer do when a client admits to a crime for which another has been charged? Wilson's lawyers concluded that client confidentiality bound them to silence, but they obtained their client's consent to reveal the information after his death.
Radin (1964: 9) cites an estimate by a highly respected judge (whom he does not name), who opined that there might be as many as 14,000 cases of false conviction in the United States in a given year. At the time this estimate was made, it would have represented a 5% error! This is ridiculous and this is why we should reform the current system.
This is a very sad state of affairs. If in the United States criminal justice system we valued truth seeking over attorney-client privilege Iton Logan would have gone free a very long time. Instead because we have attorney client privilege Andrew Wilson"s attorney did not say anything when his client admitted to the murder of Lloyd Wickliffe. This shows that the United States has a very messed up criminal justice system. This example is totally not just at all because the attorney knew what really happened, but he did not want to say anything because of attorney client privilege. By prioritizing truth seeking above attorney client privilege we will have a much more just system because the free go free, and the criminals get punished.
Contention 2-Attorney client privilege can leads to important information not being said
In the United States criminal justice system the goal is to insure a justice. The current system of attorney client privilege may seem to be just it all, but there are a lot of things that are said in the attorneys meetings that do not come out in court. By switching to a system that values the truth the United States can insure fairer trials for its entire population.
In the current system we have today there is a special bond between the client and attorney. Whatever is said by the client to the attorney stays with the attorney forever. For example a person could admit that they have killed three people, but they are only being prosecuted for one. The defense attorney is obviously not going to bring up his clients other to murders because the defense attorney wants for his client to get the lowest sentence he can.
This example is completely unjust. When attorneys are keeping things secret from the rest of the court you are not having a very just judicial system. When people can only get tried for one of their committed crimes instead of all three that the defense attorney knows about the trial is unjust. By putting truth-seeking ahead of attorney client privilege the prosecuting attorney will know about all of the previous crimes. This in turn would make the United States criminal justice system more just because know you would be prosecuting defendants for all of their crimes instead of one.
This would cause attorneys to be as much of a criminal as their clients because they are not telling about their clients other climes. This is not the kind of defense attorneys we would want in the United States criminal justice system. With a truth seeking system the prosecuting attorney will know about all of the previous crimes making justice actually happen to the person. A truth seeking system is much better because you will have better attorneys and you can achieve justice better than a system with attorney client privilege.
For clarification of today's round I offer the following definitions:
United States Criminal Justice System- system of law enforcement that is directly involved in apprehending, prosecuting, defending, sentencing, and punishing those who are suspected of convicted of criminal offenses (Oxford)
Truth-Seeking- Trying to get or achieve the real facts about something. (Webster)
Ought- moral obligation (Webster)
Precedence- the conditions of being more important than someone or something else and therefore coming or being dealt with first (Webster)
Attorney-client Privilege- The attorney-client privilege secures the client from potential sensitive information being disclosed to other people. The law requires that the attorney does not reveal any communications or letters between him/her to his/her client or any third party. (The Law Dictionary)
Moral Obligation- an obligation arising out of considerations of right and wrong (Princeton)
My value for this round will be justice which is important because the United States Criminal Justice System"s goal (as the name implies) should be justice. According to Oxford, "Justice is the quality of being fair and reasonable." This value relates to my resolution because everyone deserves equal access to the law. When attorney-client privilege is held higher than or equal to truth-seeking, the client is being treated in a fair and reasonable manner, thus achieving justice.
My criterion for this round will be moral obligation. This criterion is important because it is the United States Criminal Justice System"s obligation to achieve justice. Treating the client in a fair and reasonable way is the right thing to do and that is not achieved when the communications between the attorney and the client are not respected. This criterion achieves my value premise because achieving justice ought to be an obligation.
Contention One: Truth-seeking an important part of the United States Criminal Justice System, but it is unnecessary for it to take precedence over attorney-client privilege.
With truth-seeking, clients may be afraid to truly open up to their attorneys. In the landmark 1981 United States Supreme Court case, Upjohn v. United States, the court noted that attorney client privilege encourages "full and frank" communication between attorneys and their clients. When attorney-client privilege is not being held as high as or higher than truth-seeking, there will be less evidence available than there would be with the protective measures of attorney-client privilege, leading to a further distorted criminal justice system. As my quote says, "We win justice the quickest when rendering justice to the other party." If one party is being deprived of fair and reasonable treatment, then justice is not achieved. With the provisions of attorney-client privilege, the client is being treated in a fair and reasonable manner, achieving justice.
Contention Two: Attorney-client privilege works for the client"s best interests.
The case of United States v. Altman shows attorney-client privilege is in the best interest of the client. Cyrus and Altman were arrested separately, but they were both part of the same investigation. They had been accused of dealing drugs. Keith Rigg, an attorney, began to defend Altman, but soon switched over to Cyrus. Cyrus then testified against several people to Rigg, including Altman. Cyrus was labeled as a witness for a short period of time. Later on, the court determined that Rigg"s actions were unfair to Altman. Altman was given the right to exclude Cyrus"s testimony because of attorney-client privilege. Both clients had been suspects of the same investigation and it would be unfair for one of them to get an advantage over the other. When truth-seeking is put first, it is unfair and unreasonable treatment of the client. It should be the United States Criminal Justice System"s moral obligation to treat their clients fairly. This can only be done with attorney-client privilege.
I now move on to attack my opponents case.
My opponent's value, like mine, was justice. They claimed this was achieved when the truth is obtained. However, it is only when attorney-client privilege is held higher than or equal to truth seeking that we can truly obtain the truth. If the full and frank communication that is provided with attorney-client privilege goes away then clients are unlikely to be truthful with their opponents. The client is unlikely to give information to their attorneys that could lead them being found guilty.
My opponent's first contention claimed that truth-seeking protects the innocent. In this contention they mentioned a 5% error in the United States Criminal Justice System. However, my opponent offered no evidence that showed that this error was due to truth-seeking not taking precedence over attorney-client privilege. This 5% error could be due to other factors in the United States Criminal Justice System that have nothing to do with attorney-client privilege. Truth-seeking in no way protects the innocent. To further clarify I will offer an example: An innocent client has an affair with their co-worker and then walks in one day and finds their co-worker dead. They inform their attorney about this incident and because truth-seeking is taking precedence, this information is released and their reputation is ruined because the protective measures of attorney-client privilege are gone. In this example, the innocent client's sensitive information is being made known and they are not being protected. The innocent can only be adequately protected when attorney-client privilege is held equal to or higher than truth-seeking.
My opponent's second contention claimed that attorney-client privilege leads to important information not being said. This goes back to the case of United States v. Upjohn. The Supreme Court made a note that attorney-client privilege leads to full and frank communication between the attorney and the client. Without the protective measures of attorney-client privilege, we cannot expect the clients to release important information in the first place. My opponent gave an example of criminal admitting to killing three people and only being charged for killing one. American Bar Association mentions "crime or fraud" exception in the article Confidentiality Privilege: A Basic Value in Two Different Applications. It states that if a client provides viable information to their attorney about a crime or fraud, attorney-client privilege must be disregarded. So in my opponent's example, this information would actually be released. This is an example of truth-seeking and attorney-client privilege being held at equal balance, which is still a way of negating the resolution.
Because of the reasons above, I negate today's resolution.
Smithdan forfeited this round.
itslizyall forfeited this round.
Smithdan forfeited this round.
itslizyall forfeited this round.
Smithdan forfeited this round.
Since my opponent did not attack any of my arguments, they still stand. I will briefly address a couple voting issues.
1. The value of justice is better upheld on my side because only when we protect the vital right of attorney-client privilege can we treat every party in the United States Criminal Justice System fairly and reasonably.
2. When the USCJS protect the right of attorney-client privilege, it is more likely to obtain the truth because attorney-client privilege encourages full and frank communication between attorneys and their clients, allowing the attorney to do it's job with the accurate information their client gave them.
No votes have been placed for this debate.
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.