Privileged communications in criminal judicial proceedings

Illinois residents may be aware that communications between lawyers and their clients are considered privileged, and they may also know that lawyers can face severe sanctions if they report things that they have been told by those they represent. While discussions between attorneys and their clients may be the most widely known form of privileged communication, a number of other relationships are afforded similar legal protection.

During criminal judicial proceedings, doctors cannot be compelled to disclose the details of the medical treatment they are providing to the defendant or matters discussed while their treatment plan was being formulated. In some states, this protection is extended to include communications between defendants and nurses or dentists. However, the scope of this protection is limited, and matters unrelated to medical conditions or treatment is not protected. Communications between psychotherapists and their patients is also privileged, and therapists cannot be compelled to reveal matters that the defendant revealed during private sessions.

Conversations between spouses are also protected, and defendants in criminal proceedings can prevent their husbands or wives from testifying against them in most state courts even if they want to. However, federal criminal courts allow spouses to testify if they wish to as this wish is a sign that the relationship is not worthy of protection. A valid marriage must be in place for this immunity to apply, and the privilege dies when the marriage ends.

The criminal justice system is designed to protect the innocent, and it is very important that defendants in criminal proceedings are able to talk openly with their attorneys. While criminal defense attorneys are not permitted to reveal the details of protected conversations, they are also ethically required to only submit evidence that they believe to be true. This means that an individual who has admitted guilt to their attorney may not be asked to testify in court.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

How Can We Help You

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

The Law Office of Jessica Koester, LLC
100 North Main Street
2nd Floor, Suite 1
Edwardsville, IL 62025

Toll Free: 866-397-9110
Phone: 618-307-4192
Fax: 618-307-5870
Edwardsville Law Office Map