Lummis, Wyden Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect Attorney-Client Privilege

January 26, 2022

Legislation protects incarcerated individuals from unconstitutional surveillance

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) joined Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) to introduce the Effective Assistance of Counsel in the Digital Era Act to protect the confidentiality of email communications between incarcerated individuals and their attorneys. 

“Attorney-client privilege is a key right of our Constitution. In the 21st Century, it’s frankly unacceptable that an incarcerated person and their lawyer can’t have a private email conversation free from government monitoring,” Senator Lummis said. “As an attorney in Wyoming, I saw the importance of attorney-client privilege every day. I’m proud to work with my friend Senator Ron Wyden and Representatives Hakeem Jeffries and Van Taylor to close this egregious loophole and make sure that Bill of Rights protections extend to all.” 

Under current law, emails between an incarcerated individual and their attorney are not subject to attorney-client privilege. Law enforcement can monitor these communications and use them in investigations, creating a significant infringement on the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. 

This legislation would require that the Bureau of Prisons exclude any communications between an incarcerated individual and their attorney from the prison’s communication monitoring systems. The House companion bill was introduced by Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Van Taylor (R-TX).

Click here to view the bill.