The Ninth Circuit has held that a prison guard’s act of reading a prisoner’s legal mail – not merely inspecting or scanning it – constitutes a Sixth Amendment violation.

The Court of Appeals reversed a district court’s order dismissing, at the screening stage, a pro se civil rights action filed by Arizona death row prisoner Scott D. Nordstrom. Nordstrom alleged in his complaint that on May 2, 2011, he prepared a letter to mail to an attorney challenging his murder conviction.

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By Christopher Zoukis As legal professionals, there are few rights we hold more dearly than that of attorney-client privilege (and the privileged correspondence which comes along with it).  Even incarcerated jailhouse litigators live by such an ideal, although some might call it a component of the Convict Code: keep your mouth shut and never disclose…

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