by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The federal court conviction rate in 2015 was 99.8 percent; in 2014, 99.76 percent; in 2013, 99.75 percent. In 2015, there were 20 federal judicial districts with a 100 percent conviction rate; another 28 had only one defendant acquitted that year. You get the point: federal prosecutors have a series of inherent structural advantages.
The main bulwark to this is the defendant’s right to counsel, enshrined by the Founding Fathers in our Sixth Amendment: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right … to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.” The right to counsel is the foundation upon which all other due process rests. We ought not to mess with it. Yet messing with it we are, all in the name of “the Resistance.”
How the Special Counsel Broke Attorney-Client Privilege
It has been long recognized that, for the right to counsel to have any value, clients must have absolute confidence in their ability to communicate confidentially with their lawyers, whether in person, by phone, or on email. That is what is known as the attorney-client privilege, and it is indispensable to the practice of law. After recent events, however, only a fool would place any trust in it.