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Matthew Yeager Subpoena Case: A Defense of Confidentiality and the Doctrine of Attorney-Client Privilege Extended to the Professional Sentencing Specialist

NCJ Number
Date Published
112 pages
This booklet discusses issues and presents material pertinent to California's Matthew Yeager subpoena case, which stemmed from State v. Azevedo (1988).
Jose Eduardo Azevedo was charged in Los Angeles County with possession of cocaine for sale, the transportation of cocaine, and several related felony counts. Following numerous pretrial conferences between March and October 1988, the court ordered the probation office to prepare a pre-plea report in anticipation of plea negotiations in November 1988. In November, Azevedo requested permission to file a private sentencing consultant's pre-plea report with the court. Azevedo's counsel retained Matthew Yeager for this purpose. Yeager obtained assurances from Azevedo's attorney that statements made by Azevedo in interviews with Yeager would be protected against unwilling disclosure. Following the failure of the pretrial conference to produce a plea agreement, the prosecution subpoenaed Yeager as a witness for the trial. Yeager then filed a pretrial motion to quash the subpoena. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Yeager's motion. This report outlines procedures that defense counsel and sentencing specialists must follow to ensure that conversations between the sentencing specialist and the defendant come under the privilege against the unwilling disclosure of attorney-client conversations. This booklet also presents relevant media coverage, pleadings and memoranda of law, and a partial transcript of proceedings before the California Superior Court.


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