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Law School Case Brief

People v. Collie - 30 Cal. 3d 43, 177 Cal. Rptr. 458, 634 P.2d 534 (1981)

Rule:

The privilege against self-incrimination does not shield defendant from being forced to produce the names and identities of witnesses who would be used to prove defendant's late proffered affirmative defense of impotency in a rape case.

Facts:

Defendant was convicted of attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, and forcible sodomy. At trial, the prosecution requested discovery of the notes prepared by defense counsel's investigator regarding defendant's witness. Defendant's objections regarding the work-product doctrine and the attorney-client privilege were overruled. Defendant appealed, claiming that statements made by a defense witness to a defense investigator were privileged communications not subject to prosecutorial discovery.

Issue:

Was defendant’s right to attorney-client privilege violated when the prosecution requested discovery of the notes prepared by the defense counsel’s investigator?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The court  found that the work-product doctrine applied to criminal cases and protected the work product but, in this case, defendant failed to demonstrate any prejudice in this regard. Thus, the court found no error in the sentencing. However, the trial court erred in instructing the jury as to the second-degree murder charge in that the jury was not required to not find a specific intent to kill and that portion of the judgment was reversed.

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