In re R.L.-R.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Court: Florida Third District Court of Appeal
Topic: Child's right to attorney-client privilege
The 16-year-old child, who was AWOL, disclosed his whereabouts to his attorney and asked the attorney to keep it confidential. The agency sought an order from the court to compel the child's attorney to disclose the child's whereabouts to the agency. The trial court found that the information was a privileged attorney-client communication and denied the agency's request. The agency and the Florida Statewide Office of the GAL appealed this order. The brief argues that the privilege applies in all attorney-client relationships, regardless of the client's age; that Florida law supports the right of children in dependency proceedings to engage in confidential communications with their attorneys and that there is no exception for disclosure of client's whereabouts; that best interests does no override the privilege; that the child has a constitutional right to privacy of the information communicated to his attorney; and that ABA Model Act, legal experts, professional organizations, and case law in other jurisdictions around the country support recognition of the child's right to confidential communications with counsel and right to assert attorney-client privilege.
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