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State v. Rogers

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 1

April 2, 2018

STATE OF WASHINGTON, Respondent,
v.
EARL RONALD ROGERS, JR. Appellant. STATE OF WASHINGTON, Respondent,
v.
EARL RONALD ROGERS, JR., Appellant.

         ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO PUBLISH OPINION

          Appellant filed a motion to publish the court's February 20, 2018 opinion. Respondent has filed a response stating it has no opposition to the motion. Following consideration of the motion, the panel has determined the motion should be granted. Now, therefore, it is hereby

         ORDERED that the appellant's motion to publish is granted.

          Verellen, C.J.

         These appeals concern the State's attempt to compel attorney David Trieweiler to produce a letter written by his former client, Earl Rogers, to the victim of his alleged felony telephone harassment.

         In No. 75828-4-I, Trieweiler appeals the trial court's order finding him in contempt for failing to produce the letter. He argues the court's subpoena duces tecum is invalid because it exceeds the scope of criminal discovery and seeks privileged or protected information. In No. 75722-9-I, Rogers challenges the court's denial of the motion to quash the subpoena on the same grounds. Because the two cases involve the same legal issues and facts, we issue a single opinion.

         The subpoena was not challenged before the trial court on the basis that it exceeded the scope of criminal discovery. We decline to reach this unpreserved claim of error.

         Trieweiler was not the recipient of the letter. He obtained the letter from a third party. Even assuming the client mentioned the letter to his attorney, the attorney-client privilege does not extend to objects obtained from third parties. The letter is not protected by attorney-client privilege.

         RPC 1.6 does not preclude Trieweiler from producing the letter to comply with a court order. Because the State has a legitimate interest in the letter and disclosure has little impact on the attorney-client relationship, the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it ordered Trieweiler to disclose the letter.

         Therefore, we affirm.

         FACTS

         Rogers was charged with felony telephone harassment for threatening to kill Manesbia Pierce, his girlfriend's mother. He was represented by Trieweiler.

         While the case was pending, the State became aware of a letter Rogers had written and mailed to Pierce's daughter, Timothea Marshall. Marshall gave the original letter to Pierce. Pierce gave a copy of the letter to Trieweiler. Pierce told the prosecutor Rogers apologized in the letter and offered to pay her to drop the charges. It is undisputed that neither Marshall nor Pierce possess the original or a full copy of the handwritten letter.

         In March 2016, the court removed Trieweiler as Rogers' attorney. In June 2016, the trial court issued a subpoena duces tecum for Trieweiler to produce documents, including the letter. On Trieweiler's motion to quash, the court narrowed the scope of the subpoena but still required Trieweiler to produce the letter. When he failed to produce it, the court found him in contempt.

         Trieweiler appeals the contempt order. Rogers appeals the denial of the motion to quash.

         ANALYSIS

         Rogers argues the trial court abused its discretion when it denied the motion to quash the subpoena. Trieweiler contends the trial court abused its discretion when it found him ...


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