skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 121540 Find in a Library
Title: Evidentiary Privileges and the Defendant's Constitutional Right to Introduce Evidence
Journal: Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology  Volume:80  Issue:2  Dated:(Summer 1989)  Pages:377-426
Author(s): W S White
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 50
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Modern Supreme Court decisions are studied in order to determine their consistency with guiding principles for resolving the conflict between evidentiary principles and the defendant's right to introduce relevant exculpatory evidence.
Abstract: Since the scope of the defendant's constitutional right to discover or introduce evidence protected by an evidentiary privilege depends on whether the privilege favors the government, those privileges favoring government should be differentiated from other privileges so that a fair relationship exists between the defendant and the government in criminal cases. When a new procedure or evidentiary rule improperly tilts the adversarial balance in the government's favor, a limitation should be imposed upon the government's right to invoke such privileges. Three guiding principles for assessing the defendant's constitutional right to introduce evidence protected by evidentiary privileges are: (1) defendant should have the constitutional right to introduce evidence protected by a privilege designed to assist the government in performing one of its essential functions when the evidence will affect the trial outcome; (2) in most circumstances defendant should have a constitutional right to introduce evidence protected by a privilege if the privilege would not exclude comparable evidence offered by the government; and (3) no privilege should be invoked that would deprive the defendant from cross-examining a government witness. 221 footnotes.
Main Term(s): Rules of evidence
Index Term(s): Evidence; Privileged communications; Right to confront witnesses; Rights of the accused; US Supreme Court decisions
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.