The NY Times (big surprise there) has an op-ed piece by Napolitano – apparently Stewart’s prosecution was a travesty of justice and simply an attempt to “intimidate defense lawyers.”
As I stated here, the real travesty is attorneys abusing their position and corresponding solicitor and client privilege to carry out such criminal acts. In doing so, they threaten the foundation of the privilege itself. That, your honour, is the real threat to future litigants. That is why communications in furtherance of a criminal acts are not privileged. While a thoughtful discussion as to how to preserve otherwise lawful communications in the process may be warranted, Napolatino chooses instead to victimize Stewart and cast aspersions on the motives of Justice officials.
As for intimidating defense lawyers, if the Stewart decision intimidates lawyers from committing such acts in the future, mission accomplished. It’s called deterrence, one of the corner stones of the criminal justice process. Lawyers not abusing the privilege (and I presume that’s by far the vast majority) have nothing to fear. As for those few who do, they are not above the law.
Update: Welcome Dirty Harry Readers