One of the foundational rights of an arrestee in US criminal law, as stated in the Miranda warning, is “the right to an attorney”. But if all communication with an attorney is monitored, it can be exceedingly difficult to share information relevant to the case or even construct a case at all without implicating oneself or giving away vital information to the prosecutor. If one can’t afford to post bail, this would potentially mean that the prosecutor can observe all otherwise privileged communication between attorney and client for the entire duration of the case.

Do arrestees have the right to private conversation with an attorney?

1 Answer 1


In the USA communication between an attorney and their client is "privileged". This makes it illegal for, amongst other things, the police to listen in to conferences between a suspect and their attorney. However in practice there is often little to prevent the police actually doing so.

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    The privilege has an exception for communications made in the presence of third parties, which would include police. Do you have case law that addresses cases where police insist on being present, or is this just a prediction of a likely outcome?
    – user6726
    Feb 8, 2019 at 16:57
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    No, the allegation in the links is that the police sometimes eavesdrop on supposedly private conversations. Feb 8, 2019 at 23:06

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