You Only Think You've Got Rights - Part 3
No Attorney-Client Privilege
by Edgar J. Steele
Let’s see if I can state the prevailing secret federal rule about attorney-client privilege in brief:
From the moment of one’s arrest by Federal authorities, one has no right to confidential communications with any attorney except the one approved by a Federal judge.
It remains an open question whether one has a right to confidential communications with any attorney prior to one’s arrest. Certainly, no such right exists after one’s arrest.
No Right to Confidential Communications with Lawyers
All court hearings before Federal District Court Judge Winmill proved to be remarkable for one thing or another. All of those hearings (especially the actual trial) showcased active misconduct by the Justice Department and by the judge himself. Two hearings, one before the trial and another after, most directly highlight the judge’s denying me the right to confidential communications with lawyers.
Perhaps the most remarkable is this colloquy between the judge and the US Marshal’s service (responsible for inmate security):
“THE MARSHALL [Glen Morgan]: Now that Mr. Hoyt is Mr. Steele’s attorney of record, he would have no impediment, whatsoever, as far as attorney-client privilege… The muddying of the waters arise when defendants that are in custody wish to have attorney-client privileges with attorneys that are not attorneys of record.
“THE COURT [Judge Winmill]: Right…since the 13th of June (when Hoyt filed his Substitution of Attorneys), it has been muddy. The government filed its concern (trying to bar Wes Hoyt from the case). The court addressed that by scheduling this hearing but that… the waters should no longer be murky. I think it’s now clear Mr. Hoyt should have the right to without any concern of his conversations being recorded or compromised in any way.”US Marshall Policy Trumps the Constitution
Here is a recap of what had taken place: For a year, from the summer of 2010 until the summer of 2011, after I was convicted, the government eavesdropped on my telephone conversations, letters and “private” conferences with all attorneys, save only my Federally-paid “attorney of record,” and I am not convinced they didn’t invade those communications, as well.
After my sham show trial in April 2011, the USMS policy continued and, in fact, continues to this day. Here’s what the judge said about the secret, unwritten USMS policy during that July 6, 2011 hearing:
JUDGE WINMILL: “I’m assuming that the Marshall’s Service has some policy that probably would restrict that (private attorney-client communication) only to someone who has entered an appearance on behalf of the defendant…”
US MARSHALL MORGAN: “If Mr. Steele wishes to do that, I would suggest that he notify the management at the jail… that he wishes to… contact an attorney of his choice. They would in turn call us… At that point, then we could probably allow that…”
JUDGE WINMILL: “…We need to have some assurance that person contacted was a licensed attorney.”
US MARSHALL MORGAN: “…between the jail and us… we can probably confirm that.”
JUDGE WINMILL: “If there is a concern by Mr. Steele, than I think he can presumably communicate directly with the court… in an ex parte fashion… “
(7/6/11 “Motion” Hearing, July 6, 2011 pages 32 & 35)
So – if I want to talk confidentially to any lawyer except my judge-blessed “attorney of record,” I must get “permission” from the US Marshall’s service or “communicate directly with the court.” Problem is, they never shared this rule with me until two months after I was convicted in a sham show trial wherein the prosecutor used all my prior communications with the two attorneys (McAllister and Hoyt) who had not yet (but would) become my “attorneys of record.”
Today, there is only one lawyer with whom I am allowed private discussions: Wes Hoyt. Even so, all my conversations with Mr. Hoyt that took place prior to July 6, 2011, when the judge “approved” him as my “attorney of record,” are not privileged and the prosecutor, by her own admission, did listen in to them.
Meanwhile, I have an appeal that needs to be developed and filed, but I have no appellate lawyer. On July 14, 2011, I wrote an ex parte letter to Judge Winmill, in keeping with his 7/6/11 order, asking permission to contact two appellate lawyers in confidence. The judge refused to answer me, though I complied with his former order in court, ordering that all such requests be brought to him only by my “attorney of record” and, then, only by formal motion.
They railroaded me into a bogus conviction with fake evidence and refused to allow me to present a defense, all the while listening in to my attorney phone calls, letters and in-person conferences. Now, they appear bent upon denying me the ability to appeal my wrongful conviction.
Hey, is this a great country, or what?