The following is from the July 27, 2008, edition of The Dallas Morning News. SMU Law Professor Linda Eads provided expertise for this story.
By ED HOUSEWRIGHT
The Dallas Morning News
The highly unusual search of a defense attorney's offices at the request of the prosecution has triggered a vigorous legal fight in a lurid Frisco murder-for-hire case.
Attorneys for Mark Lyle Bell – with support from the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association – accuse the Collin County district attorney's office of violating attorney-client privilege.
"I think it's unconscionable," said David Schulman of Austin, one of the attorneys for Mr. Bell, who is accused of being the triggerman. . .
Linda Eads, a law professor at Southern Methodist University, said lawyers can be subject to a search warrant.
"They do not get to hide the fruits of a crime," said Dr. Eads, a former federal prosecutor. "There's absolutely no prohibition of having a search of an attorney's office."
However, she said, such warrants are rare and are considered an extreme measure to obtain evidence.
Dr. Eads said courts must balance "the level of probable cause against the incredible importance of the attorney-client relationship."
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