Iowa Supreme Court Issues Major Decision on Attorney-Client Privilege

DES MOINES, Iowa - A new Iowa Supreme Court decision says people don't have the right to a confidential telephone conversation with a lawyer before being charged with a crime.

It a major decision on the reach of attorney-client privilege.

The court's majority said the constitutional right to an attorney only takes place after charges are filed and the Iowa Code only insures privacy in face-to-face meetings with a lawyer.

The court made its decision while upholding the drunk driving conviction of a Milord man in 2019.

Matthew Sewell had argued he a right to a confidential telephone call with an attorney before deciding whether to take a blood alcohol test. He was seeking to have his charges dismissed, but the court upheld his conviction in its decision released Friday.

The decision was not unanimous, with Justice Brent Justice Appel dissenting to parts of it.

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