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N.Y. bar task force fights waivers of privilege Addressing what it views as an assault on the attorney-client relationship, the New York State Bar Association last week called on the U.S. Sentencing Commission to abandon a policy that encourages corporate criminal defendants to waive the attorney-client and work-product privileges to obtain more lenient sentences. The Task Force on Attorney-Client Privilege also demanded “an express statement that waiver of the attorney-client and work product protections is not to be considered in evaluating the level of cooperation of the defendant and its culpability score.” The New York State Bar Association is the nation’s largest voluntary bar association. IRS plan to use private collectors hits a wall The Internal Revenue Service’s pilot program to assign delinquent tax collection work to three private collection firms hit a snag last week when two unsuccessful applicants for the service contracts filed protests with the Government Accountability Office contesting the contract awards. [NLJ, March 20]. The IRS planned to launch the program this summer, but has had to issue stop-work orders on contracts awarded to CBE Group Inc. of Waterloo, Iowa; Pioneer Credit Recovery Inc. of Arcade, N.Y.; and Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, a law firm in Austin, Texas, until the protests are resolved. DNA test for all felons, not just sex offenders Mandatory submission to a DNA test applies to all felons, not just those convicted of a sexual offense, according to a Pennsylvania appellate panel. The intermediate-level Pennsylvania Superior Court, in the consolidated appeals of Commonwealth v. Derk and Commonwealth v. Bingaman, nos. 586 MDA 2005 and 591 MDA 2005, also found, however, that the test must be related to the current conviction and incarceration of a felony offense, not a prior felony conviction. In Derk, Judge Michael T. Joyce ruled that the phrase “other special offense” in the DNA Act meant a felony offense. The court ruled that Misty Derk had to submit to the test and pay the associated $250 fee because her third retail theft was classified as a felony, according to the opinion. Computer woes plague D.C. Superior Court Criminal defense lawyers say a new computer system in the District of Columbia Superior Court is wreaking havoc with their cases and in some instances violating their clients’ rights. The attorneys say that since the criminal division of the court moved to a paperless computer system at the beginning of the year, bad information has led to their clients being arrested after warrants had been dismissed. In some cases the opposite is occurring: Defendants with bail violations are walking because warrants haven’t been entered into the system. Court officials downplay the trouble. Judge Brook Hedge, chairman of the court’s technology and automation committee and co-chairman of the committee that oversaw the implementation of the new system, said the problems are small glitches common with a startup. Bankruptcy judge denies Brobeck class action Some 300 former employees of now-defunct Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison who sought to file a class action seeking compensation from their former firm were denied last week, though they can still pursue individual claims, among other options. In his ruling, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali said he felt the current system of processing employee claims was working well. “I am stepping away from the details and concluding in my judgment that the process as implemented is effective,” Montali said. Meanwhile, Brobeck trustee Ronald Greenspan will extend the deadline for employees to take advantage of a settlement offer by 30 days, until the end of April.

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