X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:A jury found appellant Ronald Calvin Jones guilty of murder and assessed his punishment at seventy years’ imprisonment. In a single issue, Jones argues that the district court erroneously required him to produce to the state a written statement he had given his attorney, in violation of the attorney-client privilege. During Jones’ cross-examination, the prosecutor repeatedly contrasted Jones’ direct testimony concerning the altercation resulting in the victim’s death with the statement Jones had earlier given to the police. Jones referred to a statement made to his lawyer “that indicates most all of that that you’ve asked me.” After a hearing on the issue, the trial court ruled Jones had waived any claim to privilege, and the prosecutor was permitted to cross-examine Jones using the contents of the letter. HOLDING:Affirmed. The attorney client privilege can be waived by the client. Texas Rule of Evidence 511 provides that: “A person upon whom these rules confer a privilege against disclosure waives the privilege if: (1) the person or a predecessor of the person while holder of the privilege voluntarily discloses or consents to disclosure of any significant part of the privileged matter unless such disclosure itself is privileged.” Jones argues the state did not prove his trial testimony was a knowing relinquishment of his privilege. He argues there is no clear evidence that he “was cognizant of the full ramifications of the attorney-client privilege or that he knowingly and voluntarily relinquished the protections afforded by the privilege.” This is not the standard under which a potential waiver of an evidentiary privilege is reviewed, the court states. The evidence is clear that Jones made the statement at trial voluntarily. The trial record indicates the prosecutor was repeatedly impeaching Jones with his statement to the police: Jones’ original statement had not set forth facts supporting the defenses he claimed at trial. In response, Jones told the prosecutor that he had made a second statement that did include the facts the prosecutor was asking about. At the hearing, Jones was asked why he made this statement to the prosecutor. He testified that he wanted to let the prosecutor know he had made another statement, in which he had included facts consistent with his trial testimony. The court concludes that Jones voluntarily disclosed the contents of the letter sent to his attorney. OPINION:Fitzgerald, J.; FitzGerald, Lang-Miers and Mazzant, JJ.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 1 article* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.