There is a case that will likely be heard by the Minnesota Supreme Court in the next few months. State v. McNeilly involves an investigation of an attorney who was suspected of committing a crime. In the process of the investigation her office and files were searched by law enforcement. That raises a serious issue, clients need to know that their files are safe and private, that no one will have access to them, including the police. In other states when law enforcement needs to search an attorney’s office an independent party is appointed to go over which files relate to the investigation and should be shared with law enforcement, so that law enforcement does not have unrestricted access to all files. That procedure was not followed in McNeilly, that is why the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys are filing what is called an Amicus Brief, a Brief filed by a non-party, supporting a requirement that an independent party handle searches of attorney files, not law enforcement or someone employed by them. I represent NACDL in the Amicus process, and fully support protecting client files from open access by law enforcement and others to protect client privacy.
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