The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Truth Seeking(pro) vs Attorney-Client Privilege(con)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/10/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,042 times Debate No: 56401
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)




This is an LD resolution that sounds very interesting and fun. I'm not going to debate this in LD format though. It's just going to be like a regular debate on DDO. Character-Count will be: 10,000

Full Topic
Resolved: In the United States criminal justice system, truth-seeking ought to take precedence over attorney-client privilege.

1. No trolling
2. No forfeiting
3. The last round that is posted shall not contian any new arguments
4. Structure I have stated, MUST be followed
5. Faliure to follow any of the rules stated above will result in a loss

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Opening arguments
Round 3: Rebuttals to arguments presented in round 2
Round 4: Rebuttals to round 3
Round 5: Final Rebuttals and Conclusions


What's truth worth if the one holding it isn't going to give it?

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


Attorney-client privilege - At its most basic, the privilege ensures "that one who seeks advice or aid from a lawyer should be completely free of any fear that his secrets will be uncovered.
Ought - Used to indicate duty or correctness, typically when criticizing someone's actions.

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.

Precedence - The condition of being considered more important than someone or something else.

Justice - Giving each their due

[All of these definitions were from the Oxford English Dictionary except where noted]

The BoP is shared. I must prove that Truth Seeking ought to take presedence over Attorney-Client Privilege. My opponent must prove vice-versa.

The point of the justice system, historically and more importantly, morally, is to seek truth " to accuse the guilty and to protect the innocent. Attorney-client privilege hinders truth-seeking; thus, it should not take precedence over it.

Pro 's Case
Contention 1: Truth Seeking is necessary for true justice

Sub-Point A: Truth Seeking very important

Thomas Weignd, writing for the University if a North Carolina Law School writes, "None of the potential purposes of the criminal process can be reached unless the judgment has been based on a search for the truth... The truth evidently needs to be sought when "finding the truth" or achieving "truth and justice" are the declared goals of the criminal process." [1]

We can see here that justice and Truth Seeking cannot be seperated. In order for justice to be properly enforced, Truth Seeking must be involved.

Sub-Point B: Attorney-client privilege hinders truth seeking

Wu Sha Shsn explains, "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." [2]

We can see here that Attorney-Client Privilege hinders Truth-Seeking. Since Truth-Seeking and Justice cannot be seperated, when in conflict - Truth Seeking ought to take presedence.

Contention 2: The protection of innocents is of utmost ill portable to the criminal justice system

Sub-Point A: Truth Seeking protects innocents

Wi Shu Shan once again explains, "None of the potential purposes of the criminal process can be reached unless the judgment has been based on a search for the truth... It is therefore imperative that criminal sanctions be imposed upon those who are in fact guilty. It is a protection of the innocence and litigant in criminal process." [3]

We cannot truly give the correct judgement and enforce true justice unless we know the truth. Wrong judgements will lead to innocents being convicted. In order to enforce the correct decision, we ought to choose truth seeking over attorney client privilege.

Contention Three: When attorney-client privilege leads to the conviction of innocents, it must be subject to the higher value of truth- seeking.

Sub-Point A: Attorney Client Privilege Covering Up a Wrongful Conviction

The following is a scenario that actually happened in real life:

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. But police had already arrested Logan and another man, Edgar Hope, for Wickliffe's murder based on eyewitness identification, so the police did not charge Wilson for 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. Wilson's lawyers also drew up an affidavit that confirmed that they "obtained information through privileged sources that a man named Alton Logan who was charged in the fatal shooting of Lloyd Wickliffe and is in fact not responsible for that shooting." They placed the affidavit in a sealed envelope in a metal box in 1982, believing that revelation at a later date would be more credible if supported by the affidavit. They released the affidavit after their client's death earlier this year. [4]

As we can see, such an example proves the flawed justice that arises from negating the resolution. This is an unacceptable misapplication of justice, and if the United States criminal justice fails to uphold the truth and focuses explicitly on attorney-client privilege, this trend could continue down a slippery slope. The only way to remedy such wrongful convictions, protect the sanctity of our criminal justice system, and ultimately maintain justice, is to affirm the resolution.

The implication of this case is two fold. First, Truth Seeking is necessary in order for the criminal justice system to enforce justice properly. Second, Attorney-Client Privilege hinders Truth Seeking. Based on These two ideas we can come to the conclusion that the only way to protect innocents and pursue justice is to have Truth Seeking. Furthermore Attorney Client a Privilege may lead to wrongful convictions. This is why Truth a Seeking ought to take precedence over Attorney Client privilege.


[1] Thomas Weigend, 2011. "Should We Search for the Truth, and Who Should Do it?" Archives of University of North Carolina Law School.

[2] Wu Shan-Shan, China University of Political Science and Law, 2012, "The Search for Truth in Criminal Process," University of Arizona.

[3] Wu Shan-Shan, China University of Political Science and Law, 2012, "The Search for Truth in Criminal Process," University of Arizona.

[4] Joy, Peter. "Confidentiality and Wrongful Conviction." Summer 2008. Criminal Justice. (pg 46)


nayme forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


As per rules, I win. Vote Pro.


nayme forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Once again - VOTE PRO!


nayme forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


KingDebater369 forfeited this round.


nayme forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by KingDebater369 7 years ago
I thank nayme for accepting. I look forward to an exciting debate.
Posted by KingDebater369 7 years ago
Do you want to debate though? Or are you considering it at least?
Posted by debatability 7 years ago
never mind, I saw that you posted the full resolution
Posted by debatability 7 years ago
is pro fighting for ONLY truth seeking and con fignting for ONLY attorney client privilege
Posted by KingDebater369 7 years ago
Ok (assuming no one has accepted that is).
Posted by Pfalcon1318 7 years ago
I don't know. I'd have to give it some time. There are some implications on both sides that are less than savory. Not to mention, I'm involved in some debates already. Maybe when those are finished? Assuming no one else has accepted.
Posted by KingDebater369 7 years ago
Yup - that's why I thought it would be fun =) are you interested in debating?
Posted by Pfalcon1318 7 years ago
This is a pretty interesting topic.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by inaudita 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit

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