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Sentencing Specialist and Attorney-Client Privilege

NCJ Number
Date Published
7 pages
This briefing paper describes the legal battle of Matthew G. Yeager, a criminologist specializing in the development of community sentencing proposals for felony offenders, to preserve the rights of his client, Jose Eduardo Azevedo.
It outlines the facts in the Yeager case, identifies the role of a sentencing specialist, and reviews the issues and resolution of the case. Yeager, who had recommended an alternative to a lengthy prison sentence for Azevedo, resisted a subpoena issued by the Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles County. He regarded the subpoena as a serious threat to Azevedo's right to effective assistance of counsel at sentencing. The Yeager subpoena case represents the first major attack on the privileged nature of information, in particular the content of interviews with defendants, obtained not by a lawyer but by a sentencing specialist in a non-capital case. Litigation in the case failed to produce a meritorious argument in support of the prosecution's subpoena against Yeager. Yeager's position was bolstered under California law, similar to the law in most states, because his interviewing and investigative work was undertaken to facilitate plea discussions between counsel and the court. 5 notes