In the Land of the Free, people grow up hearing a lot of things about their freedom.
You're told that you live in the freest country on the planet. You're told that other nations 'hate you' for your freedom.
And you're told that you have the most open and fair justice system in the world.
This justice system is supposedly founded on bedrock principles-- things like a defendant being presumed innocent until proven guilty. The right to due process and an impartial hearing. The right to counsel and attorney-client privilege.
Attorney-Client privilege is a long-standing legal concept which ensures that communication between an attorney and his/her client is completely private.
In Upjohn vs. the United States, the Supreme Court itself upheld attorney-client privilege as necessary "to encourage full and frank communication between attorneys and their clients and thereby promote broader public interests in the observance of law. . ."
It doesn't matter what you're accused of-- theft. treason. triple homicide. With very limited exceptions, an attorney cannot be compelled to testify against a client, nor can their communications be subpoenaed for evidence.
Yet in a United States Tax Court decision announced on Wednesday, the court dismissed attorney client privilege, stating that:
"When a person puts into issue his subjective intent in deciding how to comply with the law, he may forfeit the privilege afforded attorney-client communications."
In other words, if a person works with legal counsel within the confines of the tax code to legitimately minimize the amount of taxes owed, that communication is no longer protected by attorney-client privilege.
Furthermore, the ruling states that if the individuals do not submit attorney-client documentation as required, then the court would prohibit them from introducing any evidence to demonstrate their innocence. ~ S. Black