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Truth Seeking and Attorney Client Privilege

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/13/2013 Category: Economics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Challenge Declined
Viewed: 1,508 times Debate No: 40471
Debate Rounds (3)
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Imagine with me for a moment that you are a United States Attorney. You make big money and many people come to you for help. This particular day in the office has been hard. You have acquired two new clients both of which have heavy secrets that they want to confide in you. The first is a man who admits to you that he murdered someone, the second admits that he has illegally been taking money from the company he works for, for 12 years. Each confesses this to you with the statement "I am telling you this because I know that attorney client privilege will protect me and that you can"t tell the judge."

I will be debating the affirmative of resolved: In the United States Criminal Justice System, truth-seeking ought to take precedence over Attorney Client Privilege"
For the benefit of the judge I would like to interpret this resolution starting with the definition of truth seeking. These definitions will be from the Merriam Webster Dictionary.
Truth seeking can be interpreted two different ways,
Number One, as a process that allows societies to examine and come to grips with past crimes and prevent their future repetition.
Number Two, we can define the actual meanings of each word. Truth is defined as, "sincerity in action, character, and utterance." Seeking as, "to try to acquire or gain." So by truth seeking we mean "to try to acquire or gain sincerity in action, character, and utterance.

Attorney Client Privilege as defined by U.S. Jurist and expert in the law of evidence as Attorney Client Privilege as "Where legal advice is sought from a professional legal adviser and in his capacity as such the communications relating to that purpose made in confidence by the client are at that instance permanently protected from disclosure by himself or by the legal adviser."

The affirmative is therefore debating that trying to acquire or gain sincerity in action, character, and utterance should be dealt with before attorney client privilege.

I would like to begin by stating that attorney client privilege obstructs justice, supports the guilty, hurts the innocent, and endangers our safety. How? Let me explain.
The most important job of our criminal justice system is to bring the guilty to justice, and to protect the innocent. The only just way to do this is through truth seeking. If we get anything less than the truth such as a man was murdered, but we get the false information that the guilty person only helped commit the crime and the innocent person actually committed it. The guilty is given a month or two in prison and the innocent gets a life sentence. On the other hand if we had the truth then everything would be just and the guilty would get his punishment, and the innocent his.
This privilegeIt benefits only the guilty side, if you are innocent what do you have to lose in telling the truth? Mahatma Gandhi said "Truth never damages a cause that is just." The only person that would be afraid of telling the truth is the guilty client, everyone else wants the truth to be found, so why are the needs of one person coming before the needs of society? If the client gives information that is crucial to the case but it is never found and innocent people are put in prison, while the guilty go free. This is not just, this is not right, and it is not moral.
CBS News reports, I quote,
"This is a story about an innocent man who languished in prison for 26 years while two attorneys who knew he was innocent stayed silent. Alton Logan was convicted of killing a security guard at a McDonald's in Chicago in 1982. Police arrested him after a tip and got three eyewitnesses to identify him. Logan, his mother and brother all testified he was at home asleep when the murder occurred. But a jury found him guilty of first degree murder.
Now new evidence reveals that Logan did not commit that murder, something that was not new to those two attorneys, who knew it all along but say they couldn't speak out until now, because of attorney client privilege.
Attorneys Dale Coventry and Jamie Kunz knew Logan was innocent. And they knew because their client, Andrew Wilson, who they were defending, confessed to them that he had killed the security guard at McDonald's - the crime Logan was charged with.
The problem was that the killer was their client. So, legally, they had to keep his secret even though an innocent man was about to be tried for murder."
If someone I knew to be innocent was put in prison for 26 years because of attorney client privilege. I would feel bitter towards our justice system. I would believe that the whole system was corrupt, and false, and I would never trust the court to do a just ruling ever again.
Now that we have established that criminals go free because of attorney client privilege I would like to emphasize the danger that these criminals cause to society. Some people may feel remorse after they commit their crime and not do it again, but certainly not if they were let off when they were guilty. They will believe that they can just go do it again and that justice won"t catch up to them. Imagine how many more criminals would be off the streets if truth seeking were to take precedence over attorney client privilege. Our world would be much safer, our government more just, and our system more fair.
Attorney client privilege would still remain a priority. The resolution is simply that truth seeking is more important, which it is. There is no purpose to having a criminal justice system if we are not going to seek the truth to the best of our abilities. We should not waste our time with attorney client privilege when it ends up making the wrong verdict, and supporting only the guilty.
Many argue that without attorney client privilege the guilty client could not have a fair trial. I would like to prove to you how that is a false statement. If we abolished the attorney client privilege in our justice system, the only thing that would change is that the guilty client"s attorney would give him a fair trial based off of the truth instead of lies. The client would tell the attorney he was guilty, and the attorney would do the very best that he possibly could with that information. He would try to get him the lesser punishment, say prison for life, than the harsher one, the death penalty. The criminal would be brought to justice no matter what because we have the truth, and the innocent would be free. This is more of a just system than what we have now. It is never right to lie in court, never right to obstruct justice and support the guilty, and Never right to convict innocent people.
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Debate Round No. 1
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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