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Court affirms denial of new murder trial

January 1, 2007
Just because a public defender paralegal chats with a deputy prosecutor before a hearing, it doesn't mean attorney-client privilege is being violated, the Indiana Court of Appeals has determined.

A unanimous ruling today in Mustafa Nur v. State of Indiana http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/06060701tac.pdf, 49A02-0606-CR-486 broaches that topic. Nur appealed the denial of his motion for a new murder trial in Marion Superior Court. He argued the trial court erred by not providing an interpreter and also for allowing the deputy prosecutor to speak at an evidentiary hearing with the paralegal, who'd been present with Nur at the initial hearing. The court stated it believed the discussion was necessary to evaluate his ability to speak and understand English.

During the hearing, Nur requested new counsel in his case in which he was charged in connection with an attempted robbery leading to the death of his brother. His native language is Somali, but the court determined he did not have significant language difficulty.

The appellate judges dismissed Nur's argument about the paralegal/deputy prosecutor argument because he did not specify any privileged matter actually discussed, nor did he offer support for the contention that any violation of the attorney-client privilege is per se prejudicial.
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